Last month we focused on Gifts of Wisdom.  I wanted to blog about one of the wisest things John Maxwell has taught me. 

“Invest in yourself more than others.” 

Two things I have learned from John’s insight.  First, is one of capacity.  Spend more time, energy and resources developing yourself.  If you want to have something to invest in others, you must make sure you have something to give.  You can’t give what you don’t have.  If you want developing others to be seen as authentic, you must be able to demonstrate intentional growth yourself.  Second, is one of value.  If you expect others to invest in you, you must first invest in yourself.  Don’t expect others to do for you what you are unwilling to do for yourself.  High capacity people will only invest or mentor you once they see your intentional development of yourself.

There are three things I do to ensure a proper investment in myself will give me a satisfying ROI and will demonstrate appreciation for the investment from others.  It includes having the Right Plan, the Right Environment and the Right People.

Right Plan:  I have an intentional growth plan.  Every year at this time, I review the current (2013) plan and build my growth plan for the following year (2014).  I identify the 3 – 5 areas I want to target for growth.  Then, I set quantifiable and tangible goals that will help me know that I have grown in those areas.  I set specific steps in how I am going to accomplish those goals.  Finally, I have scheduled dates throughout the year to review the progress so that I can monitor momentum or make adjustments as needed.

Right Environment:  I identify the environments I want to create or participate in over the next year.  I find the events and conferences I should attend to ensure that I am growing in my 3 – 5 areas.  It is easy traveling with John to lose focus on attending other events or conferences outside of working with John so I need to be intentional in this area .  I have heard John say many times, “if you are at the top of your class then you are in the wrong class”.  I need other thought leaders through books, speeches and articles to sharpen and stretch my thinking.

Right People: Build your own support system.  I have a group of guys I have been meeting with for the last decade.  These guys speak into my growth, they approve my plan and hold me accountable to implementing and achieving the outcomes.  They are a board of advisors for my personal life, if you will.  Also, I identify five people that I am going to have mentor me in my 3 – 5 growth areas for the year.   I could spend a lot of time discussing this and maybe I will in a future blog.  Getting the right people and process in place to ensure success in mentoring is EXTREMELY important.  One additional idea that I picked up that I will implement in 2014 is to find 4 – 6 successful people who hold a similar title and responsibility set as I do and ask them to spend an hour with me in the coming year.  I will go in with 7 – 10 questions to ask them and I will be ready to take notes on how they are most successful, how they are most challenged and what they are doing to ensure on-going growth and momentum.

As you prepare to make 2014 the best year of your personal, professional and spiritual life, my challenge to you is to INVEST in yourself next year.  Identify your right plan to accomplish what you need.  Create the right environments to maximize the growth you want.  Invite the right people to engage with you on your journey.  Do you have a personal investment plan for 2014?  Have you projected the ROI?  Have you contacted the people who are going to help make it a reality?

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