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How to Grow Your Career or Business Even When You Have Limited Time, Energy, or Resources

In November 2018, I invested in myself by enrolling in a week-long speaker’s mastermind in San Diego, California. It was a significant investment of money and time. My employer at the time would not reimburse me for the training although, in my role, I spoke on their behalf publicly on a regular basis. Even my husband, who is my biggest supporter, questioned my decision because he already saw me as a great public speaker.

In February 2019, I traveled to San Diego by myself for the mastermind. I’m normally very confident; however, I felt strangely awkward and uncomfortable. Even though I had no problem adamantly defending my position against my husband’s initial objections, I began to question myself.

- Why am I here?

- What and I trying to prove? I’m not a speaker! These people do this for a living. I’m the head of Procurement. I have no credibility here.

- Why did I spend all of this money? I could have done X, Y, or Z….

- What are these people going to think of me?Am I about to embarrass myself?

After arriving at my hotel room, I contemplated turning around and going home. The fear was so palpable that I started to feel physically ill. Needless to say, I pushed through the fear and went to the first training session.

Guess what I quickly realized?

Everybody in that mastermind felt just like me! Even the ones who were seasoned speakers! We were all doing it in fear. In fact, public speaking is the number one fear in the world.

At the end of that week, I was on fire, invigorated, and ready to take on the world! Not because I was suddenly a top speaker, but because I had challenged myself. For the 1st time in a long time, I wasn’t the highest in the class, the one with the answers, the one everybody calls for advice. I was a student! I learned something new and increased my growth ceiling.

And you know what else?

It was worth it! Every dollar and every minute was spent in the best possible way, growing myself. I’m worth it! The lessons learned are mine, and nobody can take that from me. When I eventually left my employer 10 months later to follow my dreams, I took those skills with me.

So the question is?

Are YOU worth it? What are you doing to develop yourself?

I hear somebody saying, “I have limited time, energy, and other resources available to spend on self-development.”

I hear you, and I use to have the same sexy excuses. If you are comfortable staying exactly where you are in life, then keep believing those limiting thoughts. Yet, at the same time, please understand this thinking means YOU are in a position to gain the most from improving your knowledge and skills, especially if you are an entrepreneur or aspire to grow professionally.

Here’s what I know about money and time…

We invest our money and time in things we find to be valuable. For some, it is playing a supportive role in other people’s dreams, travel, eating out, material things like bags & shoes, or any million other things that make us feel good, important and/or comfortable.

If you believe YOU are worth the investment, try these ideas to successfully undertake self-development projects:

1. Carefully consider what you need to learn. Assess your needs and weaknesses and make a decision about what you need to learn. What will most add to your life or your business? If you are short for time, it’s important to make a wise decision about how to spend your self-development time.

Ask yourself, “What would most benefit my life or happiness?”Then ask yourself, “What would most benefit my business or career?”

2. Selling skills. It’s hard to make money without being able to confidently sell yourself. Selling skills can be among the most valuable for your professional growth, especially if you are an entrepreneur. If you don’t have all the income you desire, enhancing your selling skills might be a logical choice for your self-development efforts.

3. Networking/Marketing skills. If people don’t know about your personal or professional brand, you’re going to struggle. As stated in my book, “Hard Workers Work Hard, And Networkers Move Up!” exposure is 65% of the equation that determines your growth potential. Strengthening this important skill is critical.

4. Social skills. If your social skills are subpar, your personal and/or professional brand will struggle. Everyone can benefit from greater social skills, whether they’re an entrepreneur or not.

5. Public speaking. This is a very useful skill to improve your executive presence, and ability to fascinate and influence, especially if you are looking to grow your business or career. It can build confidence and comfort when dealing with people. Speaking at conferences can be a good way to gain exposure and establish yourself as a subject matter expert, and market and sell your services or products to a larger audience.

6. Goals. Do you have goals? Many would benefit from having a set of reasonable and applicable goals to work toward, especially entrepreneurs. Setting and striving for goals is a valuable skill to develop. It’s a skill that will be useful in more areas of life than just business.

7. Focus, discipline, perseverance. These are three qualities we all could use more of. If you’re lacking in any of these areas, consider implementing a program that builds on one or more of these characteristics.

Other qualities to consider include the ability to deal with stress, confidence, and motivation.

8. Time management. High performers are frequently pressed for time. The closest anyone can come to creating time out of thin air is to learn how to manage their time more effectively.

9. Health. Most high performers fail to care for themselves properly. Too little sleep, too many skipped meals, poor food quality, and a lack of exercise are serious impediments to good health. Making your health a priority and building some healthy habits might be the best way to spend your self-development time.

10. Relationships. High performers are notorious for having troubled relationships. The time commitment of being a perfectionist, or running a business and the stress that goes along with it can be a real strain on any relationship. Perhaps learning how to reconnect is the best skill you can learn at this time.

So what do YOU do next?

Prioritize YOU! Decide what area of self-development will best serve your business or life. Take a look at your situation and allocate your self-development money and time appropriately.

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