The Best Entrepreneurs Are Experts at Self-Improvement. Here's How to Master That Skill.
Entrepreneurs are the individuals who spark change and innovation in the world. But first, they must make changes within themselves.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There's a phrase that I don't love, but I also have a hard time denying its blunt truthfulness.
"People can change, but most of the time they don't."
We all know people who have changed drastically, but they always seem to be the outlier in an otherwise predictable world of unchanged individuals who never fail to behave exactly as we thought they would. We all have the power to change, but only a precious few find the ability to tap into that power. The rest stay as they are, never really elevating their vision or formation of self.
Why is this, though? The answer is fairly evident: Self-improvement is difficult.
It's the painful process of plucking out pieces of one's personality, character and thought processes that are not only deeply embedded, but consistently practiced. It requires honest self-reflection, consistent upkeep and perspective-filled patience.
The truth is that entrepreneurs need to improve themselves. It's vital to their success, crucial to creativity and is required as an ingredient toward building meaningful relationships. Become obsessed with improving because success depends on it. As someone becomes better personally, they see things, people and problems differently. One's ideas gain dimension and depth, as does the ability to work well with others.
Self-improvement is hard, but there are things entrepreneurs can and must do to make self-improvement easier, measurable and attainable.
Related: How to Thrive on Self-Improvement and Brutally Honest Feedback
Define your 'why'
You need to have a clearly defined "why." In other words, why is personal change necessary in your life? Who are the individuals that will rely on and benefit from this personal improvement? Why will you continue to work toward self-improvement, even when it proves to be difficult? And most importantly — why do you want to improve?
Once individuals define their why, it creates a foundation. One that the person can refer to consistently and that will be used to motivate actions and center intentions.
Related: The Remarkable Self-Improvement Advice of Benjamin Franklin
Come clean and be clear
Honesty with one's self is crucial to living a healthy, productive and fun life. Everyone has weaknesses, so why pretend that you don't?
Instead, one should work on identifying these weaknesses. Picking the particular weaknesses that are holding an individual back, then methodically work to improve them. One of the greatest joys in life is coming to terms with a weakness, working hard to overcome it, and then realizing, after some consistent and concerted effort, that it has been improved.
Everyone has blind spots. Set up some honest conversations with a trusted individual who can tell you about your blind spots. You will need to be vulnerable and share some of the weaknesses you've identified about yourself that you're working on changing. Then, ask the person to identify one or two weaknesses that you may not have recognized. Setting up dialogue like this is important because it creates a safe space for honesty and openness.
It may hurt at the moment. You may hear something you don't want to, but a lack of self-improvement hurts much more in the long term.
Utilize self-improvement tools
We use tools to simplify and improve our lives in so many different ways, yet many entrepreneurs have never thought about using a self-improvement tool before.
Areas where we all need to improve include structure, daily practices, measurable checkpoints, goal setting, community and accepting coaching from experts.
There are several self-improvement programs out there to assist. By making self-improvement more concrete, we can celebrate the wins, put into perspective the difficulties, and learn how to make ourselves better.
Related: The 7 'Senses' of Self-Development