Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
This quote comes to mind whenever I think of my personal and professional improvement over the lifespan of my career. I am a firm believer that if one expects to improve, one must invest the time to hone and work on their skill daily until they achieve the goal.
Success does not and will not come from doing what everyone else is doing. Rather, by repeatedly focusing on our specific goals we want to achieve and working toward those goals is how we will reach the finish line. It is that continuous improvement that will eventually differentiate you from everyone else. As leaders, it is vital to be able to focus on the big picture while simultaneously zoning in on the key areas that need attention.
So, what are the best methods to improve?
- Self-Assessment through SWOT Analysis
Take an inventory of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For each of your weakness, come up with a SMART goal to improve it. Challenge yourself and focus on improving yourself.
- Seek a role model
Observe your role model and understand how they conduct themselves. How do they treat others? How do they conduct themselves?
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Take calculated risks and jump in with both feet. Embrace the opportunity. When the outcome does not match what you expected, seek to understand the lesson and learn from it. Remember that mistake is equity for our success.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
Remember that your journey is yours. Your story is different than everyone else. Avoid comparing yourself to others, because we are all unique and our quest to improve ourselves varies depending on our situation.
- Be patient
You will not achieve instant success over night. Everything takes time. Invest the time and enjoy the journey. Sometimes you have to do it multiple times to get the result you want. Learn and continue to improve yourself.
- Get outside your comfort zone
Most of my breakthroughs are due to taking chances and embracing the new opportunity. Many times I was not up to it yet I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone.
- Do it right the first time
Who has the time to redo their work? Take the time to learn and do it right once. Remember that rework only delays you from achieving your goal.
A journey to improve yourself is often frustrating. Things do not improve quickly, and therefore it is important to manage your expectations. I always remind myself that the butterfly was once in a cocoon, trying to rip the cocoon open to early will not help accelerate the development of the butterfly. Be patient while staying focused.
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