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Become the Best You by Investing in Yourself
There has been a personal development revolution over the past decade and for good reason. Investing in yourself and broadening one’s skillset has caused countless people to create success and happiness both in their professional and personal lives.
Corporate America has fully embraced this as a growth tool so their employees can benefit from what helped tycoons of industry achieve their success.
It’s no surprise either. No one is born an inspiring leader. No one is born a great listener. No one is born a great public speaker. No one is born a great parent. Whether we know it or not, we pick these things along the way by having great mentors to nurture us or we learn the hard way by trial and errors. They all take practice and to be these things, you have to take the time to invest in yourself and become a better version of you.
"There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder." - Ronald Reagan
I’m a huge proponent on how personal development is the key to success and that’s because it’s what helped me build my seven figure business out of my home and be able to live my life of freedom. Simply put, everything I’ve accomplished wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t start investing in myself. The person I was 9 years ago couldn’t have done this. The person I was 9 years ago couldn’t have dreamed this was possible. The person I was 9 years ago would have given up before he’d even started or the moment things got tough. He was going nowhere fast and if I hadn’t made a choice to become the person I wanted to be, I’d never have a ghost of a chance in achieving my goals.
However, you need to divorce the notion that personal development is only for your job or padding your bank account. It’s not.
Your profession is just one facet of what makes you you and determines your happiness. You can be an absolute rock star at work, the person that your colleagues and bosses all point to and say, “Be like him/her!”, but if your personal life is in shambles or you’re a jillion dollars in debt since you suck at managing money, there’s going to be a knot of unhappiness festering in your gut that you just can’t shake.
The ultimate underlying goal of personal development is to be the best version of you possible. Not to be the best salesman, not to be the best entrepreneur, not the best investor, not the best negotiator, and not the best team leader. It’s to be the best you.
Too many people forget this in the grind of getting more out of their jobs because there’s this misconception that your personal happiness flows from how much money you make and how you can use that money to fund trips or get that car / house / thing you want. They focus too much honing their skills inside of the single puzzle piece that they forget that there’s a bigger picture just outside of their range of vision.
If you constantly strive towards being the best you, everything else will take care of itself.
CHAPTER ONE: Health & Fitness
Now, I’m not saying this because I’m a health and fitness guy. I’m not saying this to plug my own stuff. I’m saying this as a guy that’s been on both sides of the proverbial line and can tell you from painstakingly intimate experience that I feel so much better now than when I was 100 lbs overweight.
A lot of people fall in the trap of gaining weight after college, basically in their mid to late twenties, when they start investing their spare time into getting better at their jobs, blowing off steam by partying on the weekends, finding someone to spend the rest of their life with, taking care of their kids, and so on. It gets to that point where you have so much to do, there are only so many hours in a day, and something’s gotta give.
Eating healthy and working out is typically one of the first thing that’s cut, I know because I’ve been there, but here’s the deal. You have to invest in your health early and often. Sacrificing your health when you’re young will only hurt you in the long run. When you’re in shape and healthy, you have more energy, your mind is sharper, you have a more balanced mood, you’re able to think more clearly, you sleep better, and you have more stamina so you don’t tire out so easily.
Even Gary Vaynerchuck, head of Vaynermedia and one of the foremost entrepreneurs / venture capitalists, says that he regrets not prioritizing his health in his early twenties when he was building his businesses.
Don’t sacrifice your health because of your job. Invest in it so you can have the energy and stamina to amplify other areas of your life.
Best Health & Fitness Books
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy
It Starts With Food
How to Lose Weight
The Whole 30
The Book of Muscle
CHAPTER TWO: Discipline & Self Control
Nothing worth having comes easy and in this era of instant gratification, it is so incredibly easy to not do the things we should be doing especially when our lives get a little comfortable.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’ve had a long day at work, there was a wreck on your way home and your commute took 45 minutes longer than it should, you’re exhausted, and you just got home. There are leftovers in the fridge and Netflix is shouting your name, but your place is a wreck, you need to pay bills, and you should really get ahead on next week’s presentation. What do you do?
Do you plop down on the couch and binge watch House of Cards or do you tidy up the house, get those bills off your plate, and knock out that presentation?
That’s the line in the sand. Sure, the former is more enjoyable and more entertaining, but when it comes down to it, where do you stand? Do you clear out your to-do list or do you procrastinate for some fleeting instant gratification because you don’t wanna?
"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment." - Jim Rohn
The difference between the people that achieve their goals and those who don’t boils down to good old-fashioned discipline.
When you’re disciplined, you do the things you’re supposed to do not because you’re getting praised for it and not because you’ll get in trouble if you don’t. It’s because that’s just the way it is.
Look at any successful person be it an elite athlete, entrepreneur / CEO, or concert musician. They didn’t wake up one day and were able to perform at this high level. They put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours practicing their craft when no one was watching because they made it a priority and their discipline guaranteed that they put in the time whether or not they were in the mood.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Nothing worth having comes easy and the bigger it is, the longer and harder you’re going to have to work for it.
Best Discipline Books
The Power of Habit
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Self Discipline in 10 Days
Manage Your Day to Day
The Compound Effect
The Slight Edge
CHAPTER THREE: Setting Goals & Achieving Them
Without clear goals, your life is like a ship at sea without a rudder. Sure, you’ll be pushed along by the currents and gales, maybe even bump into a few things you want by accident, but you’ll be lucky to move in the right direction and most likely just end up going in circles.
Goals give your life purpose and direction. Goals put you on the path to achievement and fulfillment. Goals tell you where you’re going so you can take the right steps to get there.
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." - Zig Ziglar
No matter what it is, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. This isn’t me telling you how pretty and wonderful and amazing and perfect and better than everything else you are. It’s the God’s honest truth. You can achieve anything if you’re willing to put in the work.
So many people put the cart before the horse when it comes to pursuing their goals that they end up quitting before they really begin, but if you turn your wants and dreams into goals and attack those goals strategically, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
You can sit there looking at ‘successful’ people and feel demoralized or you can ask yourself, “Why not me?” and get moving.
Best Goal Setting Books
The Magic of Thinking Big
Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals
Goals! How to Get Everything You Want
The 10X Rule
Guide to Achieving Your Goals
CHAPTER FOUR: Staying Motivated & Creating Your Own Fire
Motivation is overrated. There, I said it.
Too many people rely on doing their jobs, moving towards their goals, cleaning their house, working out, or developing their skill set only when they feel like it. They rely on that spark of external motivation to get them moving rather than creating their own motivation and momentum. Sometimes lightning strikes and you’re able to do what you need to do, but more often than not, you’ll end up spinning your tires getting distracted with Facebook or checking your mail or messing around on YouTube.
You don’t have to be motivated to do your job.
You don’t have to be motivated to clean out your garage.
You don’t have to be motivated to exercise.
You don’t have to be motivated to do the laundry.
You just have to get moving and the rest will take care of itself. Is it easier to do these things when you’re motivated? Hell yes, but if you only act when you’re motivated, you’ll never get anything substantial done.
You have to find ways to create your own motivation and light a fire under your own butt so you can push through those roadblocks that are stopping you from doing the great things that you were meant to do. Those days where you’re just not feeling it won’t be able to stop you. They’ll be in your rearview while you’re speeding towards success.
Best Books on Motivation
Getting Results the Agile Way
The War on Art
The Power of Purpose
The Power of Ambition
Awaken the Giant Within
CHAPTER FIVE: Productivity & Time Management
Ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Do you not have enough time to do the things you love? Are you constantly missing deadlines at work? Can you not seem to make any progress on your to do list? Ever look at other people and wonder how they get so much done and you’re stuck twiddling your thumbs?
If you said ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you probably have an issue with poor time management.
Here’s the bottom line, we’re all busy. We all have responsibilities. We all have things that we have to do and we’d rather not. No matter how busy you think you are and it’s getting in the way of you achieving your goals, there are people out there facing the same problems and making it work.
There’s 24 hours in every day, 7 days every week, and 365 days every year. Are you making the most out of every minute?
I was in one of Chalene Johnson’s mastermind sessions recently and she made a marvelous point about how we sabotage our own success by unnecessarily padding our timelines. Long story short, she asked my friend Mindy Lawhorne that if she was doing a speaking engagement at some event and the organizers gave her 2 hours to get ready, would she use all of it?
Mindy said, “Absolutely! I’d be in my robe doing my makeup and hair to just feel amazing before I got on stage.”
Chalene responded with, “Same event, same situation, but you have 20 minutes to get ready. Could you do it?”
Mindy thought about it for a moment and said, “Yeah, because I’d have to. I’d make it work.”
This is the crux of time management. We give ourselves too much leeway to do something in two hours that should only take us 20 minutes (figuratively speaking) and our productivity suffers because of it.
Best Books on Productivity
Getting Things Done
Eat That Frog
The Miracle Morning for Network Marketers
4 Hour Work Week
CHAPTER SIX: Communication & Listening
It doesn’t matter whether you’re making a presentation in a corporate office or just trying to explain to your child why they shouldn’t stick a jelly bean up their nose, you have to be able to communicate. It’s a life skill that we all need to cultivate, otherwise you’ll end up explaining to the ER nurses why the room smells like Berry Blue after your kid sneezes. Nobody wants that.
"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others." - Tony Robbins
We all come from different backgrounds, we all have different personalities, we all had different upbringings, and we all have different values and beliefs so it’s no surprise that everyone communicates differently because we’re all different. You don’t talk to your boss the same way you talk to your kid. You don’t talk to a car salesman the way you talk to your significant other or your parents.
Because of this, there isn’t one “key” to communicating. There isn’t a single way that you can talk to everyone and they just “get” what you’re trying to say. You have to be able to adapt your communication style to both the person you’re talking to, the subject you’re discussing, and the environment you’re in.
If you’re talking to a person that places a lot of emphasis on body language, you have to be mindful of how you stand, what you do with your hands, and all the little nuanced non-verbal cues they pick up on so you don’t send the wrong message and cause unnecessary friction. If you’re talking to a busy, “no-nonsense” individual, you’ll know to trim your conversation to bullet points since they don’t care about fluff or shooting the breeze.
Being an effective communicator is all about wearing the right hat at the right time with the right person and the only way to know that is to practice, practice, practice.
Best Books on Communication
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
Talk Like TED
How to Talk to Anyone
Listening: The Forgotten Skill
The Lost Art of Listening
Active Listening 101
CHAPTER SEVEN: Self Awareness
A lot of what holds people back is that they spend a ton of energy and effort moving in the wrong direction trying to force something they’re not.
This isn’t saying that you shouldn’t improve the things you’re weak at and just completely abandon them, but that you need to take stock of what your strengths and weaknesses are so you aren’t banking your livelihood on something that you just have zero aptitude for. If nothing else, you can have an honest inventory of what you’re working with so you know what to improve on.
"Self-awareness allows people to recognize what things they do best so they can then go hard on those aspects of their life. It also helps you accept your weaknesses." - Gary Vaynerchuk
We like to look at ourselves through rose-tinted glasses and hold this romantic idea of who we are or what we want to be and that sometimes gets in the way of how things actually are.
Self awareness is the crux of personal development. You can’t have one without the other. Let’s say that you want to be a writer, but you don’t have an expansive vocabulary and you overlook that because you lack self awareness, you’re going to have a super tough time getting published. However, if you recognize your weakness, accept it, and take steps to improve it, you’re one step closer to succeeding.
Best Books on Self Awareness
Strengths Finder 2.0
Emotional Intelligence 2.0
The Gifts of Imperfection
CHAPTER EIGHT: Entrepreneurship
There has been a resurgence of the entrepreneurial spirit over the last decade with the advent of juggernauts like Facebook, Instagram, Uber, and a smorgasbord of smartphone app companies making money hand over fist. It’s become the sexy thing to do and call yourself, but being an entrepreneur isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
It is a tough lifestyle that not everyone’s cut out for. Being an entrepreneur means long hours, constant grinding to keep growing, and that the buck stops and starts with you. It’s not easy. It’s not simple. It’s not a walk in the park. However, if you can make it work, the success and freedom you will achieve will be worth it.
"I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance." - Steve Jobs
Regardless of why you become an entrepreneur, you need to be in it for the long haul because there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Even those 0.0001% of entrepreneurs that seem to explode onto the scene out of nowhere have been working their asses off for years. Their big break finally came in and they were able capitalize on it. That’s it.
It’s not some amazing idea, it’s not having a jillion dollars in funding, it’s execution. It’s working your butt off and improving yourself and being there day in and day out so when opportunity knocks, you’re able to answer.
If you think that being an entrepreneur is the life for you, great! Go all in. Learn from the best. Learn from the giants that came before you and what they did to earn their success so you can profit from their experience.
Best Books on Entrepreneurship
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
6 Months to 6 Figures
The Psychology of Selling
Fast is Fun, Slow is Painful
The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster
Go for No! Yes is Destination, No is How You Get There
Every single one of us has a purpose. Every single one of us has goals and desires. Every single one of us wants to be more than we are. No matter what it is in your heart that you think you were put on this earth to do or what you want to learn, by striving to be the best version of you possible you can achieve anything, and personal development is how you get there.
"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” - Benjamin Franklin
By investing in yourself and making yourself better today than you were yesterday, you are setting yourself up for success and inviting abundance into your life. You may think that your goals or dreams are too big and that you aren't capable of achieving them. You couldn't be more wrong. Invest in yourself. Believe in yourself. Become more than you were yesterday and you can achieve anything.