According to a number of surveys out there the average person reads between 1 to 2 books a year. Compare this against many of the CEO’s of the world who on average read between 4 to 5 books a month. I often wondered, how these CEO’s found time in their busy schedules to cram in all these books and also what was the huge fascination in reading. It also made me wonder how important continual reading was to help one with being successful.
As I started to grow my business and often found there were not enough hours in the day to get all the activities done, I found excuses to not work on myself and my personal development. However, my growth as a business person slowly declined as I was not absorbing new information and new strategies on how to do things smarter as opposed to harder. I realised that if I wanted my business to grow, I need to grow as a leader. Given the number of technology options that are now available I found that one does not have to follow the traditional path of picking up an actual book to read. Often times when you do pick up a book from the bookstore and it is 400 pages long, you automatically tell yourself I’m never going to get through that – I might as well skip it.
I adopted a strategy by one of my fellow entrepreneurs who also graduated from the same business program as myself. Brett who runs a successful carpet cleaning company (http://www.ajaxcarpetcleaners.ca/) told me that he has turned his service van into a mobile university. He is not one for being a big reader so he has invested in audio books. Whenever he is driving from client sites to his next job, he hits the play button and immerses himself in a coaching series by the legends like Jim Rohn, John Maxwell or Grant Cardone. Quite often Brett breezes through 2 or 3 audio books during the month, (I tell him he needs to up that number as he is not CEO material yet) and when he finds an audio book that resonates with him, he goes one step further and invests in purchasing the actual book. His reasoning is that he then studies the book, making notes on the important points from the book in his journal. This allows him to focus on the key points and work it into his subconscious mind.
I decided to take Brett up on his strategy and invested in my first audio book – The Go-Giver Leader. Surprisingly, it took me a week to listen to the audio book and there were so many nuggets in the audio book that I had to purchase the book. I did find it more challenging to physically read the book, however, I committed to reading 20 pages a day and it literally took me 8 days to complete the book. Wow! I was amazed how if one breaks down a task into smaller manageable chucks, that we can really attack it and conquer our mindset of the goal being unattainable. Some key points that I took away from the book and made notes in my journal:
- Keep a focus on your vision – when business is going well, it is easy to keep the vision of where you want to take your company. It is during the tough times and when nobody else sees your vision that you really have to stay focused.
- It is all about the people – Don’t react instead respond. When you put the people around you above you, you grow as a leader.
- Get your hands dirty – people respect you more when you do the work. Whether it is the most simple task to the most complex. Get mud on your boots!
- Stand for something – I loved the following line that was quoted in the book – ” Character is what happens when life scratches itself onto your soul”
- Finally, give your leadership away – it is never about you – it is about holding people up and the best way to increase your influence and leadership is to give it away.
I have now committed to continue myself on this wonderful journey of self development and reading. Brett and I now have a standing competition to see who can read as many books as possible in a month. He of course is beating me, but over time I know I will catch up.
I encourage all you entrepreneurs to start your journey of growing yourself. Trust me as you grow so will your business. Contact me of course if you have any comments.