I am always amazed at the number of people who cannot wait until the weekend, the next month, etc. They discuss how their job, their boss, their peers drive them crazy. I think of these folks as serving time. I once worked at a large organization where people would say they only had 15 more years until they could retire. I would say, “15 years! You could have several great careers.” They replied, “Yes, but I would give up my pension, my vacation, my seniority.” To me, they were giving up 15 years and just serving time…which is guaranteed to no one.
I propose an alternate approach. How are you investing your time? You may not love the situation you are in, but what are you doing to improve yourself? A recent report by The Jenkins Group said that 42% of college grads never read another book after graduation. In 1978, Gallup found that 42% of adults had read 11 or more books in the past year (and 13% had read more than 50!). Today, Pew Research Institute finds that just 28% reach the 11 books mark. Pew also found that in 2014, 23% of Americans did not read a single book.
Are you still learning? What was the last great book that you read that got you out of your comfort zone? (For me, it was Overworked and Overwhelmed by Scott Eblin.) What podcasts or YouTube videos do you learn from? Who do you share these lessons with?
I love the quotation, “the only difference for you in five years will be the books you read and the people you meet.”
· Who are you networking with?
· What value do you bring to them?
· Who are you mentoring or coaching?
· Where are you volunteering?
These are all investments in time; however I firmly believe that you will wake up in five years from now doing something you are passionate about. Thus, I hope you will call someone and set up an appointment for lunch and really listen to their ideas. I think this is a great investment in time.
Here are some of my favorite recent books and podcasts to give you some ideas:
· TED Radio Hour
· Harvard Business Review IdeaCast
· Stuff You Missed in History Class
· Overworked and Overwhelmed by Scott Elbin
· Anatomy of Peace by Arbinger Institute
· 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram
· Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
What are you interested in? Go find a book, podcast, or YouTube video on the topic. Next, discuss the book with a friend and start to apply the practices. Investing time will provide a jolt of inspiration for your leadership.