Personal Development

Six months in to my role at Fresh Thinking and my thirst for personal development has never been greater.

I thought I knew it all in my twenties and although I’d listen, I never seemed to learn.

After all, I was going to live forever and new business was going to fall into my lap because I was me!

Amazing what having a family and a few failed business ventures can do to a care-free young adult.

I say failed, but I didn’t really know what I wanted out of business,  I didn’t know I needed personal goals as well as business goals.  I was so green.

I’d see business owners strolling round the golf course on a Friday seemingly without a care in the world and think “they’ve made it”

I couldn’t comprehend the level of hard work, mistakes, sacrifices and stress that had preceded those humble 18 holes.

I wanted the dream but without the hard work.

There was never a “eureka” moment, it was a gradual realisation that business is tough, competitive and at times ruthless.

After the sale of my stake in a coffee and vending business in 2013 I even thought about a career change.

I’d been swallowed up around the boardroom table and spat out the other side.  At least that’s what I thought at the time.

The truth is I was naive, I wasn’t ready, I was in denial and most importantly, I wasn’t expressing the necessary skills or behaviours to make it work.

I had to improve.  Personally I had a duty to myself and my family.  Work-wise I had a duty to all my future business contacts and potential partners.

It’s a simple irony that self-improvement is actually about being able to help others more effectively.

3 tips to improve you

The beauty is that you can control your own level of personal development.  It’s down to you.

1)  Choose your leaders

If you want to improve, someone will give you the chance.  Choose a leader that exhibits exemplary behaviours, that challenges you to do things you thought not possible and gives you the belief and the tools to achieve.

It’s really easy to accept poor leadership.  You do your job, get paid, your job is safe, so you stay.

Don’t be afraid to seek more.

Even Industry leaders and business owners have mentors and business coaches.  It is not a sign of weakness to seek education and direction.

2)  Ask for training – seek training

You’re a good sales person, hitting your number; you’re customers love you and you go the extra mile to ensure they’re happy.  So why do people around you keep getting that promotion?

When I had an ego I used to get wound up by this.

I was invisible to the hierarchy.

Looking back now I know why.  It was my fault.  I never requested any additional training and wasn’t interested in personal development.  I was doing my bit for me and thought that because I was doing my job I would be noticed.

Of course I was noticed, but I wasn’t displaying any leadership qualities.

Put yourself in your bosses shoes, would you promote yourself for just hitting your numbers?

Ask to shadow a manager for a few days to understand the role and the responsibilities.

Ask for further sales training.

Request a meeting with marketing so you can understand how their work is helping you hit your number.

Take a funded course in digital marketing.

Invest your own money in you.

Then you will be recognised, then you will know what it takes to get to the next level, then your path will become clearer.

Finally, read.

3)  Perspective

I’m in the car for 6 hours per week, travelling to work in Leeds, where I work with two businesses.

I can’t stand the radio. Repetitive negative news, dumbed down presenting and running the risk of sounding old, boom boom music.

Audible has been an absolute blessing for me, allowing me to make the most of otherwise dead time and learn other perspectives and ideas.

Use your spare time to learn and improve.

The last few months I’ve listened to;

Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari, a thought provoking journey into the history of mankind.  Utterly mind blowing.

The Chimp Paradox, Prof Steve Peters, did you know we have 3 brains?  Me neither until I listened to this.  Each brain needs looking after and the book provides some great methods to deal with negativity and anxiety.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson, a lesson in how our generation need to choose what to give a fuck about.  It’s so relevant today, it’s funny and it’s full of positive vibes.

Key Person of Influence, Danial Priestley, a superb tried and tested methodology to become a leader in your field.

I’m not sharing this information to preach.  Different perspectives and ideas can give you an edge in the workplace and help you become a more rounded, open minded employer or employee.

Roundup and plug

These 3 tips continue to help me achieve the best possible results for the businesses I work with.

My role at Fresh Thinking is to help business owners reach their personal objectives quicker, by helping them deliver their business goals.  Some call it business development.

Importantly, I work as a normal employee in your business part time in a senior business development role.

Every day I need to inspire teams and senior leaders and because we have no contracts I’m only as good as the work I do.

If you’re a business owner unsure of how to take the next step then please get in touch.  Using our patented 9 box model I can review your business development activities, create you a strategy and help you execute to achieve maximum results and a fantastic return on investment.

Thanks for reading

Ben Kistell