A Leader Is A Reader

Empires of the future will be empires of the mind – Winston Churchill

The extent to which you can dream and pursue your dreams is determined by your mental capacity. Your mental capacity is made up of your talent, knowledge and skills. Talent is constant, but knowledge and skills can be improved. Improving your knowledge and skills optimises your talent.

For example Christiano Ronaldo is a talented soccer player. What has made him a world class soccer player is his knowledge of modern soccer techniques and sharpening his skills through training. Your purpose, vision and goals are nourished by the amount of knowledge and skills you have. No amount of passion or zeal can substitute lack of skill or knowledge. Without these you are like a boat on dry ground.

You cannot dream of being a world class business person if you do not know how businesses work. Neither can you dream of being the best in your profession, when you are not improving yourself.

Time will fail me if I tell you of my father in law who at 55 is doing an MBA. It’s never too late to invest in yourself.

Invest In Yourself

The only way to improve the quality of your life is to improve yourself. The only thing you can improve is yourself. But when you do, everything else around you suddenly gets better. The life you will live tomorrow is a result of the seeds you will sow today. What seeds are you sowing in your life?

I once worked in Nigeria years ago where there are some well stocked book shops. I bought every good book I could lay my hands on. The family was expecting to see boxes and bags filled with goodies when I arrived at the airport. I disappointed them – I only had bags full of books! Years later I have no regrets because the books have opened my mind and opportunities in life.

Be Teachable

At the beginning of the year I set goals for my personal development. I have since engaged a professional mentor and a coach to help me realise my full potential. I had to overcome pride to realise I need help. I do not yet know all there is to know. We all do have an ego and we think maybe we don’t need help, but the truth is we do. Getting a mentor has helped me to have someone looking at my blind spot and to avoid pit falls. A coach is helping me with areas which I need to improve on or are new to me.

Timothy and Barnabas from the Greatest Book were all good but Paul mentored them to greatness. Without Sir Alex Ferguson as a coach, Christiano Ronaldo might still have been struggling in the slums of Portugal.

Set Personal Growth Goals

You should set aside time to continually learn new things. You must keep improving yourself to build on what you learned yesterday. You should develop a specific plan for personal growth. The starting point is to acknowledge that you need to grow. Ask a colleague, a friend or family for honest feedback about areas you need to improve on. Identify the interventions needed to address the gaps – it could be a coach, mentor, a course, a book, a video or an audio tape.

What you repeatedly read, listen or watch soon becomes your habits. Human beings are creatures of habit. Habits form your consciousness and character. Character shapes your destiny.

Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see” and I say it too. Forget about all the change peddlars, you are the only game in town. You are the change you can believe in. Ultimately the belief that you can change yourself leads to the belief that you can change your life.

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