From day one, as a human being, you have been programmed for growth and development. “Maslow used the term self-actualization to describe a desire, not a driving force, that could lead to realizing one’s capabilities. Maslow did not feel that self-actualization determined one’s life; rather, he felt that it gave the individual a desire, or motivation to achieve budding ambitions.”
In fact, psychologists believe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs “can be divided into deficiency needs and growth needs…” Growth needs stem “from a desire to grow as a person. Once these growth needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization.”
Instinctively we seek ways to improve ourselves, which includes skills and thinking. From our academic standing to the way we grow our social networks, and even our career paths seem to be measured by an invisible yardstick.
This struggle to recognize certain improvements in ourselves is significant and can benefit us over time. It signals change and reminds us that every step, large or small, is a mark of progress. Ongoing effort helps us further hone our strengths and overcome our weaknesses. It gives us ample zeal and motivation to move further away from our comfort zones. No wonder millennials are addicted to self-improvement.
Self-improvement isn’t without challenges
While the idea of self-improvement is enticing, its practice, however, can be challenging. At home and the office, you will have to hurdle over roadblocks to realize your full potential and make intentional strides toward self-improvement.
Chances are if you provide professional advice for a living, then you know this dilemma is an ever-present reality.
Most consulting firms and self-employed consultants have an eagle-eyed focus on their clients’ needs. As a consultant, your instinct shifts in service of your clients, as you endeavor to guide them toward development and success. This can make it difficult to prioritize individual self-improvement.
To counter this occurrence, here are several self-improvement tips to cultivate the best version of yourself and show up for your clients as a consultant that walks the walk.
1. Prioritize your health
The consulting industry is perceived as more relaxed than its traditional corporate counterparts, but the stressors in both worlds are at similar levels. When you’re self-employed, the pressure can be magnified.
To stay on your A-game, tackle stress to lessen its toll on your body and mind. Commit to exercise, proper diet, and enough sleep to replenish your health. Leverage health and fitness apps to track your progress.
Moreover, the mere act of adopting a healthy lifestyle further builds your discipline and commitment mental muscles. Both of which are essential in your daily routine as a consultant.
2. Upgrade your knowledge and skill set
Many consultants thrive in an information-driven atmosphere. The broader your knowledge and experience, the better you can relate to your client’s and provide actionable solutions. Books, audiobooks, podcasts, and published academic journals are common go-to options that can enrich your mind and help you remain relevant.
Finding a business mentor can impact your personal growth as their influence acts as a bridge to best practices through immersion, exposure, and accountability. Meanwhile, volunteering can deepen your compassion and natural desire to help those in need.
Similarly, devoting time to acquire new skills whether it pertains to leadership, communication, client management, or productivity can take your consulting business up a notch.
3. Enlist a partner or support network
Whether you want to create a performance feedback loop or want someone to hold you accountable, self-improvement becomes less of a chore when done in good company. Find a trustworthy companion or support network that will give you an honest evaluation of your progress and constructive criticism. Keep that person updated of your progress and encourage them to keep you honest about your growth.
4. Master time management
As a consultant, you are often pulled in many directions and forced to hand over the reins of your schedule to projects, client calls, business development and more.
With temporal freedom at hand and seemingly limited time in general, things can slip through the cracks and time can be spent unproductively.
Perhaps, you spend too much time on social media and haven’t yet automated those tasks. Maybe client calls continue to go over their allotted time because they lack structure and process. Either way, time management is vital for consultants. When an opportunity to practice time management arises, grab hold of it and practice it daily until you fall into a natural rhythm.
A few time management tips that work well include gaining crystal clear clarity on your goals. Eliminate distractions and delegate tasks to interns, freelancers or a personal assistant. Also, take time to plan your day ahead and identify the most important task of the day. Mastering the art of time management can help you handle your consulting schedule in a more efficient manner.
Self-improvement is a necessary path that leads to both personal and professional fulfillment. Consider these four tips as you prioritize your overall wellness so you can serve your clients better.
Originally from the U.S., Rana Tarakji is the founder of One SEO, author of Off-site SEO guide: A Hands-On SEO Tutorial For Beginners & Dummies, and a web content specialist who now lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Rana’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including Life Hacker, Upwork, Christian Today, Newswire, and many other outlets. She’s also a popular speaker in universities and startup events, such as Startup Turkey, and the American University of Beirut. Rana is one of the pioneers of the SEO and the digital marketing industry.