Personal Growth Is Not Optional

Yesterday a reader, Phil, made a great comment to my post on doing what you are exceptional at.  He brought up the point of where it may be necessary to do what you are not good at and work on your weaknesses.  I thought the issue of personal growth and where to draw the line would be a great topic for today’s post, so thanks again for the comment, Phil.

First, I want to draw a distinction between your talents and the rest of your life.  When I talk about focusing on what you are exceptional at, I am only talking about those things that are related to your business and how you make money through the various business tactics.  When it come to other personal growth areas, marriage, family, health, that is a completely different matter.

As far as personal growth is concerned, it’s much easier for us to take the easy road.  There are times when it’s difficult to love your spouse.  There are times when having a relationship with God is hard.  It’s easier for me to watch TV than it is to run outside, especially right now because it’s thirty degrees (Fahrenheit) outside.

In these cases, your life depends on being the best you can be in these areas.  If you are not right in these areas,  ultimately your life will suffer.  I have coached several business owners who have stated that marital issues were a problem for their business or that health concerns were hurting their business.   It’s important to grow in these areas and develop good habits even if that are not currently your strong points.

In business, there are also areas where opportunities for growth present themselves.  One area that business owners struggle with is in procrastination and time management.  Getting a handle on this is important as it affects all areas of your business.  Knowledge may be another area that you can expand.

Now in yesterday’s post, there was a comment about addressing weaknesses in areas of your business.  While weaknesses of your business should be addressed, that doesn’t mean they should be addressed by you. A great example of this is accounting.  I work with a lot of dentists and chiropractors who still insist on keeping their books and accounting in-house, even though they are terrible at it.  They should understand their books, but they shouldn’t be an expert at them.  Somewhere there is a sick individual who loves doing the books.  Get that individual to help address your weakness.

There other issues with addressing weaknesses, that being we get distracted by things we are very good.  A perfect example of this is my life in corporate America.  I was above average at my job.  I got raises and promotions.  I will also say that I was never exceptional at the job, although at times it appeared that I was and there were other times I was clearly not.  The job was hard for me.  I wasted a lot of emotional energy doing something I didn’t even like but that I could do at a reasonably high level.  We get distracted in these areas and they end up taking us away from areas where we can create significant value.

Business owners struggle with discernment.  Warren Buffett says that it’s more important to say “no” to an opportunity than to say “yes”.  Most of us work in the exact opposite.  Being true to what you are exceptional at will allow you to have better discernment and make you more productive in the long run.

Ultimately I wouldn’t ignore all the areas of your business completely.  This would be a mistake for your business in the long run.  You should know how everything operates and functions in your business.  You just don’t need to be a superstar in each area.  Personal growth is an important aspect of your business and it is not to be ignored, but don’t confuse it with feeling like you need to be an expert in all areas of your business.

How have you been able to walk that line between what’s a personal growth issue and what makes good tactical sense for your business?

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3 Responses to “Personal Growth Is Not Optional”

  1. Kyle McNeil December 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Being part of a team, where I can lean on others, with things that I don’t do as well as they do — so I can go out and continue connecting with people, writing, etc.

    I’ve tried the “be everything to everyone approach” and it’s dangerous.

    I read a quote yesterday that said “you can’t pass the puck to yourself”.

    Team baby!

  2. PhilWrzesinski December 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    Henry Ford was a failure; bankrupt three times… until he got an accountant working with him to do what they do so he could focus on what he does.

    Bill Gates needed help.

    Even Warren Buffett doesn’t go it alone.

    They all got help. If it worked for them, it should work for you, too!

    Great post, Brandon!

  3. Michael Drew December 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    The other side of this is when people try to take on tasks and roles that they aren’t competent to do. How many “jacks of all trades” are truly successful? I find that people succeed when they do what they know best and leave other tasks to those they know and trust to be competent and best at those other tasks.

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