As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’ve arrived once you start a successful business that’s generating healthy cash flow. However, as those who have gone before you have learned, growing complacent is a surefire recipe for disaster.
The Secrets Behind Steady Improvement
“Continuous improvement eschews the practice of being reactive to issues, and instead asks us to be proactive to prevent these issues from occurring,” The Clever PM explains. “Every single run through a process is an opportunity to learn, to assess, and to improve. Every single run through a process tests the hypothesis that you’ve established as the ‘rules’ for that process. And every single run through that process provides you with data about the process itself, as well as the end result of that process.”
Though the previous statement is in reference to business process improvement, it could just as easily be used to describe the need for self-improvement. There’s no such thing as standing still. If you’re stationary in the business world, others are surpassing you. You must constantly have an eye on incremental improvement.
Every business leader is going to benefit from a unique approach to self-improvement, but here are four specific ideas to get your wheels turning:
1. Take Online Courses
Twenty-five years ago, any business leader or entrepreneur in America would have jumped at the chance to have interactive digital courses available to them at their fingertips around the clock. Back then, you had to actually attend physical classes at local community colleges (which ate up a ton of time). Today, you have access to world-class teaching from renowned business professors, all from your laptop or mobile device. Take advantage!
Don’t know where to start? Consider taking an MBA essentials course to equip you with some more advanced understanding of business strategy, leadership, marketing, and finance.
2. Invest in Personal Growth
As important as it is to pour into your company, make sure you’re filling yourself up first. Otherwise, you don’t have anything to give. Personal growth is the best investment you can make.
Have mentors. Join masterminds. Search out your weaknesses through others, because we’re usually blind to our liabilities. For example, when I first started making money, I remember buying a Rolex and thinking I was smarter than everyone. That mentality held me back.
“Have mentors. Join masterminds,” ListenTrust co-founder Craig Handley writes. “Search out your weaknesses through others, because we’re usually blind to our liabilities. For example, when I first started making money, I remember buying a Rolex and thinking I was smarter than everyone. That mentality held me back.”
Whatever your greatest weakness is, try to counteract it. Whatever your greatest strength is, focus on making it even more of an asset.
3. Think Like a Leader, Act Like a Student
It’s important to think like a leader, but you can’t let your status, title, or past success get to your head. Constantly acting like you rule the roost will get you in trouble. Much like Handley discovered, it holds you back.
It’s helpful to think like a leader, yet act like a student. In other words, you carry around the confidence of a leader – because you are one – but you approach the world through the lens of a student. This means you’re always ready to learn. You’re seeking lessons in every exchange. You’re building two-way relationships where there’s give and take.
4. Do Things That Scare You
You’ve probably heard the piece of advice that you should do one thing every day that scares you. It’s a quote that’s often misattributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. But here’s what she actually said:
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Perhaps no truer words have ever been spoken for the entrepreneur. As uncomfortable as it is, doing tough, intimidating tasks will force you to acquire new skills and evolve as a person. Face your fears head-on and don’t be afraid of failure or embarrassment.
Discover the Best Version of Yourself
It’s easy to feel like you are who you are and that’s as good as it’s gonna get! But you aren’t a static being. You have a high degree of plasticity. You’re malleable enough to improve or decline, depending on what you feed. Make sure you’re feeding the right things so that you can continually improve over time.