Three Keys to Self Improvement

Linda Quest By Linda Quest, 4th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Careers

You can't do everything at once, so be strategic about self-improvement. Focus on what works.


Are you on a journey of growth self-improvement? I hope you are.
Do you get stuck sometimes? I’ll bet you do.
Here are three common mistakes that can derail our efforts and lead to burn out.
1. We focus our weaknesses.
2. We try to improve everything at once.
3. We stoically try to do it alone.
If you want to make real progress, try approaching self-improvement strategically, in three ways.

1. Develop your strengths!

The IRS did a study some years ago. They administered all their employees a skills assessment and then divided them into two groups. Half developed their strengths, the other half developed their weaknesses. At the end of a year, all the employees had improved their performance. But the ones who developed their strengths improved by significantly more than those who focused on weaknesses.

The Austrian management guru Peter Drucker pointed out that you can only develop a weakness to a mediocre level at best. And if you ignore your strengths, then you miss the opportunity to become Great.

Do you know what your strengths are? What are you really good at, and what do you enjoy and want to do more of? What did you like to do when you were a kid? What have other people told you you’re good at? What strengths have revealed themselves in any aptitude tests you have taken?

If you want to confirm your strengths with a test, I recommend Gallup’s online StrengthsFinder. It only costs $9.99. Or buy their book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and get a free code to take the test online.

2. Prioritize your development!

You’ll burn out if you try to do everything at once, so prioritize one to maximum three development projects at a time. If you don’t know what to prioritize, go ahead and make a long list of all the ideas you have for improvement, and then look at the items from two angles.
1. How easy or difficult are they for you to do?
2. How much impact will they have on your quality of life or your career?
You can plot them out on what I like to call the Easy-Impact Matrix
Quadrant 1 is your Quick Wins. You want to do those things you can do that are relatively fun and easy for you and likely to have the biggest impact on your career or quality of life. Here is the low-hanging fruit, and where you get the biggest bang for the buck. Do these first!
Next, you can tackle some of the Hard Battles in Quadrant 2. These are difficult but worth doing because they can have a big impact. Give yourself more time to complete them. Please undertake only one Hard Battle at a time. After a Hard Battle, try to rest or go for another Quick Win before tackling the next Hard Battle.
Quadrant 3 improvements are Nice to Have. They are fun and easy and tempting to do, but they may not improve your situation much. Leave projects in Quadrant 3 for when you can afford extra time and energy and deserve some fun.
Finally, Quadrant 4. If it's hard to do, and it's no fun, and it has little impact on your career or the quality of life or your interests, it’s probably a sad waste of your time. My advice is, don’t bother.

3. Get help!

Even the most driven person can use some help, and there are thankfully plenty of resources out there to guide and encourage you on your development journey:
- Learn: There are plenty of books, articles, blogs, podcasts to help you. Attend a class on line or in person. Find a role model who does it right and copy him or her.
- Track: Use some sort of personal scoring system to track your progress, maybe a habit tracker app on your phone or keep a success journal.
- Buddy up: Find a buddy who is willing to keep you on track. Your buddy could be a colleague, friend, personal assistant, boss, mentor or professional coach.

So remember:

By focusing on your strengths, prioritizing your development projects, and getting help, you give yourself a much higher chance of developing yourself in a truly impactful way… and reaping the rewards.


Career, Career Improvement, Career Path, Career Success, Career Tips, Coach

Meet the author

author avatar Linda Quest
Born in the US, I lived in Europe for 28 years before returning home. Currently in Norfolk, Virginia. I teach, research and write about management, but use these pages for play!

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author avatar Hanuman Jayanti Sms Messages
11th May 2015 (#)

thanks for the nice information in the post

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author avatar Latest jobs
15th May 2015 (#)

thanks for sharing the useful information
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