Are You Improving and Evolving?

Richard Long

Our most recent blogs have been on how to improve your organization. But what about self-improvement? People are often the most important resource to an organization, so improving and evolving is always important. 

As an important resource to the organization you work for, what are you doing to improve yourself, whether personally or professionally? In today’s budget conscious environment, often training or personal development dollars are limited, or time is simply not available. As with many things in our lives, individuals should take ownership of this and not rely on others. Even if your organization does not provide development opportunities, this quote from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is appropriate – “What’s dangerous is not to evolve.”

How might we go about our own personal evolution? Here are several ideas. None of them are directly related to our work, but by improving and evolving other areas of our lives, we will be more effective as employees or resources for the organization.

Goals

Choose one or two goals outside of your work. Make the goals a challenge, but not impossible. Do not make too many goals or you will not meet any of them. I am a member of an organization that provides 10+ goals each year to its members. During the year, any one of these may get priority and see progress, but then another gets priority and the first stops progressing. We don’t have time to put appropriate effort into 10 goals along with all our other responsibilities.

Physical

Our physical health should also be a primary focus. Without good health, we cannot work effectively or support our family and friends. It is a critical dependency, using BCP language. Identify a way to improve your eating or exercise habits. Use a calorie counting app to help or just identify what is important for your diet; maybe increase your water intake by decreasing or eliminating soft drinks. Increase your physical activity. Make the time to take a 10 – 15 minute walk each day or use a 7-minute exercise program (there are multiple apps). The 7-minute exercise program is 14 exercises done for 20 seconds each, with 10 seconds rest between. Get your family or friends involved.

Mental/Emotional

Consider meditation or just ponder a specific topic each day – maybe five minutes before going to work or before going to bed. There are multiple free sites on the Internet on meditation or concentration exercises. Taking a few minutes of time alone to just relax, breath and decompress can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Talk to a friend or loved one (I mean talk with your voice – face to face or by phone, not through written messages exchanged on social media). Again these conversations do not have to be long or occur every day.

Intellectual

Learn a new skill or just learn a new word. Remember learning vocabulary in school? Why not try it again? Maybe choose a language from a culture you want to know more about or from the home country of one of your clients. Learn some of the vocabulary using a word of the day approach. Take an online course (I plan on taking an online history class). Often there are free courses – and they are much more productive than spending time on social media reading about kittens, political diatribes, or just insignificant life actions. That being said, there are wonderful topics to discuss over social media and opportunities for learning, so SM can be used as well.

As you are improving and evolving different aspects of your life, just a little at a time, you will also become a better employee. You may be able to use the new experiences in relation to your job. More importantly, you will become the example Dr. Seuss wrote about – “Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! Nine-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”

Risk Transference