The very nature of us human beings (or most of us) is to look for the path of least resistance. When we do, we are less likely to be stretched to increase our capabilities and be better than we are today to achieve more of what we want most in life.
This notion came to my attention whilst reading a wonderful book by John Whitmore called ‘Coaching for Performance‘. He defines performance as going beyond what is expected. How often do we do that? How often do you say to yourself, I’m going to do more than I did yesterday, and this time better! Not as much as we’d like to perhaps?
He talks about the workplace as a ‘University for self-development’. I love this definition of the workplace! Why? Because in the last few years I’ve come to realise that this is exactly what it is…whether you’re working for yourself or someone else, you have the opportunity to work to grow. I believe, that if more people viewed the work place as a University for self-development they would not only enjoy going to work, but would also get more from their work than just a pay check and the occasional pat on the back.
You can usually tell if a person is serious about their personal development to get their next promotion or if self-employed; improving the growth of their business, just by asking them what they are reading.
I often ask people I work with who start to complain about their workload or about a job they’d applied for and didn’t get “what are you reading right now?” This usually stops them in their tracks, tilt their head and look at me as if I’ve just spoken Swahili to them! “No really” I say, “what are you reading?” I then receive a variety of answers that range from ‘nothing!’ to ‘I can’t remember’ or if I’m lucky, the name of a book I’ve never heard of and they can vaguely remember themselves.
Now I’m not being judgemental here… I’m as guilty as anyone for not reading as much as I believe I should or would like to. This is why I often opt for audio books as they suit my lifestyle, especially when I’m travelling. No, my point here is that people who gripe and moan about not getting on or not being paid as much as they believe they should be, or not being able to attract as many clients as they need to make their business work, need to ask themselves ‘what am I reading right now to help me grow?’
Better still, ‘how can I use my workplace or business as a place of self-development to improve my chances of success?’
These are my answers (Hey, I’m no expert but they work for me!):
- Read books that will help you understand yourself or people better. You will find some great examples on this website under the tab called Books.
- If you don’t have time to read audio books are ideal, especially if you travel to work as half hour each way is an hour a day of listening; 5 days a week could be a book a week!
- Take time to listen to what people are saying to you. You learn far more about people (and yourself) when you shut up and listen instead of talking…especially about yourself! I read somewhere once ‘a bore is someone who talks about themselves when you want to talk about yourself!’
- See work as an education to be better than you are today; be willing to learn something new every day, put yourself forward for courses and coaching that will help you grow
- Instead of whining about your job, work or business, stretch yourself to do something more or different than what you did the day before. You will amaze yourself…try it!
- More importantly; decide to be happy at work and learn it’s your responsibility and decision and not someone else’s.
Whatever you decide…have a great day!
Blessings M x