You’re seemingly doing pretty well. You’re dominating in business, enjoying a hobby or two, and still making time to tweet while hanging out with your “real life” friends.
So you may ask, “Why should I add anything else to the mix?”
It’s really simple, “Because you can!” And because you can, you should.
Spending a little time on personal and professional development can prove beneficial well into the future. So, here are three easy ways to become a better you this year.
Update industry-related professional skills.
Make it a priority to learn at least one new professional tool or skill every year. It doesn’t have to be an obvious one either. For example, if you’re a graphic designer you could attend a sales workshop to help expand your freelance client base or take a web programming class to expand the level of services you offer to clients.
Get outside of your comfort zone and get creative.
Get outside of your comfort zone and learn something completely unrelated to what you do in business. This is a great way to get your creative juices flowing and maybe even locate a surprising new talent. A lot of times you’ll find that your new skill can also help you in business. For example, I’ve always been fascinated by Ted Talks, on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices and Ted Conferences, but I held back going because it didn’t really make sense for my business. I decided to attend one year and had a blast. What I didn’t anticipate was the tremendous value of networking with other highly successful people. I ended up making great contacts, continued the conversation as time passed and eventually landed some of them as corporate clients. Attending the Ted Conference was one of the best investments I’ve ever made and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Learn something purely because it fascinates you.
As we get older, this is the one area that most of us don’t pay much attention to. Who can take up a new sport or learn French just because you want to? And yet, learning new and interesting things just might be the key to becoming more relaxed and creative in business.
This year I took a glass blowing class on Saturday mornings and not only made some awesome paperweights, but got to relax and spend some time away from my computer and blackberry for a few hours. I also made some new friends in the process. It too me away from the pressure of my daily life as an entrepreneur and allowed me to think about things objectively.
Look for the hidden value when learning new things. Invest in some “me” time this year and see how far it can take you and your business. You might be surprised.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Lea Richards is the founder and owner of Pig of the Month BBQ, a nationwide mail order barbecue company. Founded in 2010 as a bootstrapped venture, she quickly learned how to leverage her marketing and PR savvy to grow her business on the cheap. She now shares this knowledge with other entrepreneurs around the country. She has been mentioned in the New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine, Food Network Magazine, Thrillist, and Good Morning America among others.