How is your investment portfolio? Not finances but in personal growth and development?
Mr. Santos was the oldest of 7 children, so he had to quit school and work to help support his younger brothers and sisters. He never learned to read, so when he married and started a checking account, he signed his checks simply “XX”. Eventually he started his own business, which immediately prospered.
He soon was a very rich man. One day, he got a call from his bank. “Mr. Santos,” said the banker, “I need to ask you about this check. We weren’t sure you had really signed it. All these years you’ve been signing your checks ‘XX’, but we just got one that was signed with three XXX’s…”
Mr. Santos answered, “No problem. It’s just that since I’ve become so wealthy, my wife thought I ought to have a middle name.”
Wouldn’t it be better if Mr. Santos invested more in education so he can expand his knowledge?
Some people may argue, “But Mr. Santos is rich and he doesn’t need more education.” But suppose Mr. Santos increases his knowledge through education, wouldn’t he be better than what or where he is right now? All of us need to invest in personal growth and development.
The rock star of management, the legendary Peter Drucker said many years ago: “Here I am, 58, and I still don’t know what I am going to do when I grow up. My children and their spouses’ think I am kidding when I say that, but I am not. Nobody tells them that life is not that categorized.” He lived to his nineties and was still productive.
There was a time when work was driven by the need to specialize in one single task and to be efficient at it. The Industrial Age personified by Henry Ford who introduced the assembly line production methodology required one job or one task done efficiently for an entire lifetime. This is where you get the idea from parents saying, “son/daughter, get some education, work faithfully in a company for 25 or 35 years and the day you retire, your children may even take over your place.” And then something happened. Today you realize that career and working people actually outlive the very organizations they work for.
You wake up a few months later in the middle of your career and realize that your company has folded up, you have been laid off or your company has been merged, acquired or simply shut down. Marketing your limited skill to another company is extremely difficult in an age where business corporations put premium on younger workers who can be paid lower and who are savvier with technology.
Less than 20 years ago, age 35 was young and age 65 was old. Today 35 is old and 65 is young. Our life expectancy has been extended but not the organizations we work for. Over the years there came a shift away from manual or unskilled work to the type of work we do more with our brains than our hands. Many people experienced the painful changes in the economy as it moved from a dependence on manufacturing jobs to knowledge-based work. Factories with thousands of employees are now replaced with computerized workstations and then today, the stationary computerized workstations are now replaced with laptops and smart phones that make the users constantly mobile.
I bring my office with me wherever I go and even as I worked on this material I was banging my laptop away in a beautiful boutique hotel equipped with wireless internet in the beautiful Coconut Grove district in Miami Florida. This is the world today that is so different from the world I came from. I used to be in manufacturing. For many years my career was safe and secure and it was too comfortable. Those days are gone. Today I do a lot of business consulting, doing corporate training and this is so far and different from what I used to do. I am able to do this because I invested in personal growth and development. And I still am investing. While people wondered why I spent a lot of money in books and seminars what they cannot see is the value added to my repertoire of knowledge that is reaping fruits today. And yet there is still so much more to learn.
Are you learning? Are you growing? Are you mastering new skills and transforming your own life? Are you reinventing yourself? Do your current employers consider you valuable because of what you can do? Never say: “It’s hard for me to change. I am too old for this.” That is so untrue. It’s never too late to have a brand new beginning. Go back to being a child. Children carry this wild and crazy belief that they can be what they set out to be. As adults we have to maintain that faith determining that investing in personal growth and development is worth it.
Expand your world by expanding yourself.