Are You An Old Tool?


Know what I hate? An old razor.

Know how long it takes me to replace my old razor when I need a new one? Yep, way too long.

I do have an excuse: I shave in the shower and I have an extremely short attention span. I think about the need for a new razor when I’m scraping several extra layers of skin off my face with a razor that is days past its useful life. Of course, by the time I towel off I have already forgotten about the razor and I’ve shifted my focus toward something much more important, like applying just the right amount of hair product.

Oh, and another problem: I used to buy the 3-pack, so every 3 razor changes I’d be completely out of replacements, which added several days’ delay to each razor swap out.

Finally realizing the need for a better system, I bought a 50-pack of razors at Costco. I placed them in a highly visible place (next to my hair product, of course). That way I could replace my razor every week and not run out for an entire year. Brilliant. And for the most part, my system works. It sure works better than what I was doing before.

My point: Things work better when we replace our tools on a regular basis.

Guess what your most valuable tool is. It’s you.

When was the last time you replaced yourself? What I mean is when was the last time you did anything to improve yourself? To create a “new you” in any way? In other words, have you allowed yourself to become an old tool?

The vast majority of business professionals do very little to improve themselves…until they have to. Look around. How many of your colleagues read books, attend conferences, take classes, watch webinars, or experience any kind of personal or professional development programs? Only when it’s required by the company or they decide they want a better/different job.

Without exception, the most successful people I know are the ones who improve themselves when they don’t have to. They are always learning, always growing, always improving. The reason they operate at a higher level is because they’re standing on a massive pile of improvement. And they would never be accused of being an old tool. Never ever.  

Nobody tells them to do it, and they’re certainly not waiting for their company to tell them what to learn or which conference to attend. In fact, these people often pay for the majority of their training out of their own pocket.

What???? That’s crazy talk.

No, that’s success talk.

Ok, you get my point. So what can you do about it? Here’s what I suggest:

1. Identify what do you want/need to learn to become better at what you do.

I’m not the best in the world at what I do…yet. Even if I was, I’d still seek out ways to get better. At certain times you will also need to figure out what you need to make a leap into an entirely new area. There’s always something more to learn. Always.

2. Seek out learning opportunities.

Google conferences in your area of interest, ask for blog recommendations from people you look up to, search for books or audio programs on Amazon or FYI: Your boss is not going to do this for you. Every training I have ever attended in my professional life (and I’ve attended lots) has been because I sought it out and asked if I could go. I used to ask my boss. Now that I own my own business I ask my wife. She always says yes, because she’s awesome.

3. Get it on the calendar.

Block time each month for your development and plan it ahead of time. At a minimum, find time each quarter. If you only learn something new once per year, that’s probably not enough. Seriously. I joined a coaching program this year that has a day-long program each quarter plus other learning opportunities each month. Joining the program helped me simplify and systematize my learning, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my own development.

A friend of mine told me once how disillusioned he was when he entered the workforce because he thought his company would “put him on a path of development,” but that never happened.

It never does. Unless YOU make it happen.


Here’s your chance to contribute to the learning of others. What do you do to develop yourself? What books are you reading? What’s the best conference or professional development event you’ve ever attended? How are you creating your own path? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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