Where to start if this is your year to build your business or advance your career.
If your list of goals for the coming year includes items like earning a raise, securing that promotion, launching a side business, increasing your public speaking requests, or any other number of professional goals, then read on for what I believe to be three powerful methods for making them a reality.
Over the last several years I’ve discovered that, the more time I’ve put into these areas, the better the outcome. I believe the most direct path to professional — and personal — growth includes these all important steps.
Read with Consistency and Intention
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? You’ve probably heard it before but keep telling yourself there has to be another way.
I get it. You left college thinking you wouldn’t have to worry about picking up another book anytime soon. I know I did.
But I believe if you desire to make a difference in the world around you, then an attitude of “lifelong learner” is one you must adopt. I personally know of no better way to advance one’s career than to read.
For example, over the last three years, I’ve read roughly seven books on the topic of public speaking; each one with its own set of methods and unique take on the topic (it doesn’t have to be seven; start with four or five.)
As I’ve begun to put into practice what I’ve learned, I’ve noticed a direct impact on my speaking in several ways.
For starters, I’m a much more confident and prepared speaker than before. As you might imagine, this has resulted in more satisfied clients and audiences.
It’s also turned a process I once dreaded into one I now truly enjoy (which has, in turn, led to my receiving more prominent and consistent speaking opportunities.)
You might say, “When you read with consistency and intention, everybody wins.”
Embrace Accountability and Seek Feedback from Those You Trust
If you aren’t already meeting regularly (weekly is best) with a small group of your peers, then you’re missing out on one of the best methods I know for greatly increasing the likelihood of reaching your goals.
For several years, I’ve meet weekly with a small group of like-minded men over Skype (we call it a mastermind group.)
Each week, we talk through our goals and hurdles, our successes and failures. As a direct result of the encouragement and mentoring I’ve received from this group, I’ve made choices and leaps I might never have had the courage to otherwise, including launching an online course, and venturing out into coaching and consulting.
This goes both ways of course. Ideally, your skill set complements that of the other members of your group.
If you lack such a group, think for a moment who among your peers you admire and respect most. Might they already be a part of such a group? If so, would they consider adding you?
If you find no such group exists, or ones that do are already full, consider starting your own.
Hand select people you feel are a good mix. Consider allowing each person you invite to extend an invitation to someone they know. Set ground rules and expectations early on, giving others a chance to weigh in.
To quote Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Leverage Your Commute (or Your Workout or Other Alone Time)
If finding time to read is a struggle, audiobooks are of course a great option. Just as effective, I’ve found, is listening to podcasts. And, the great thing about podcasts is, you don’t have to stop doing everything else to enjoy them.
Search within iTunes for topics you’re interested in, or seek recommendations from your mastermind group. Or, start with a broad category like Business, and consider drilling deeper into subcategories like Careers or Management & Marketing.
Many educational shows are interview-based, bringing in experts each episode to dig deep into specific topics. Best of all, podcasts are free and never any further away than your mobile device.
Realize that when you leverage in this way what would otherwise be down time, you give yourself an advantage over the average person. You do want to be above average, right?
All or Nothing? Not Necessarily
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