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There is an old adage, “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got”. If you continue to do the same thing over and over, how can you expect a different result?

If you feel you have reached a plateau in your business, ask yourself what you have done to make yourself a better leader, a better manager, a better business owner. How many books have you read in the past year to expand your knowledge? How many workshops or seminars have you attended? Are you still watching podcasts and reading blogs by business coaches, experts or other respected businesspeople?

If your answer is “none”, “no”, “nada” then you are not investing in your own personal development. If you are not investing in your personal development and continuously learning, expanding and growing, neither will your business. It is that simple.

According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". You cannot expect yourself or your business to suddenly perform better if you haven’t changed anything to promote growth, innovation and efficiency.

Learn to get out of the rut

Many people find themselves in a rut, doing the same things repeatedly and getting the same results. The reason why they keep lagging behind and staying in a rut is because they are not investing in their own personal development. They are not learning. They are not being exposed to new ideas or new ways of working. Their knowledge and skills have stagnated. This feeling of stagnation, of being stuck in a rut, can be overcoming as new technologies, methodologies and ideas continue to infiltrate the workplace and change how we do business. Lifelong learning and development are key to long term success – and avoiding that rut!

As a business owner, you wear many hats – human resources manager, IT manager, marketer, finance officer, accountant and customer relationship manager amongst others. You need foundational skills in each of the areas of your business. Your skills development needs will also change as you grow and as your business evolves. As life changes, so the need to adapt professionally and personally becomes as real as the changes themselves.

In his book, No Excuses! The Power of Self Discipline, Brian Tracy, a Canadian-American motivational public speaker and respected author on the subject of self development, talks about the “The 3 percent formula”. He advocates investing 3% of your take home income into personal development, citing that the most profitable 20% of companies in each field typically set aside 3% of their revenue for training and development. By committing 3% of your income to your own personal development, your investment scales with you regardless of financial status.

The beauty of this scalability is that the more you earn, the more you can invest in your learning. This has a direct effect of your dreams and what you can achieve because the quality of the questions you ask, the decisions you make, the actions you take and the results you get is so much higher.

Don’t make excuses

Lack of time and funds is often an excuse for not investing in learning and development. Maybe you feel like you do not have the time or the money to put into your education and development. But, ask yourself this; do you have the time to grow your business, learn ways of preventing mistakes and reducing your odds of failure? The answer is probably yes!

Perhaps you only have enough money to buy one or two books a month. It is a start. You read, you learn, you apply your newfound knowledge and ideas to your business, and it grows. With this come higher revenues and the 3% you get to invest in your development buys you more, such as registration to a seminar, an online course or a business coach.

There are many ways to self educate yourself. You have almost unlimited resources available at your fingertips. For instance you can;

· Watch podcasts

· Read blogs

· Sign up for online learning programmes

· Read books

· Attend seminars

· Go to workshops

· Commission a business coach

Take a look at some of the events and groups in your local community and you’ll probably find a variety of classes and demonstrations, workshops, seminars and presentations in your field of interest. These are not only fantastic opportunities to learn more about your chosen topic but they are also opportunities to network with people who could become a valuable resource for you. As an ActionCOACH client, you have access to a vast library of podcasts, blogs and other collateral on the new online portal to support your self-development journey.

Start by identifying your skills gaps and then set your goals for your developmental learning process. Remember, that personal development is about more than honing the talents you already have. It is about broadening the length and depth of your understanding of the different facets of your business, the market in which you operate, the people and customers with whom you engage and the business landscape that ultimately impacts your own business. On a personal level, investing in your development is about growing, becoming more aware and gaining invaluable insights and abilities that you can leverage to make an impact in the world.

Don’t stagnate! Strive for continuous learning!

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