What has personal development and social development got to do with building a successful business? If this is the question on your mind, then I will suggest, you keep an open mind and read on.
I felt the need to write on this because I saw a growing need to restructure the perception of entrepreneurs. I am writing this because I see entrepreneurs go exceedingly beyond their comfort zone just to achieve success in business without recourse to the consequences. I have seen entrepreneurs stay up twenty hours a day just to breakthrough in business.
“This is why I stay up twenty hours a day.” – Sean Diddy Combs
Now how do I know this? I know this because I have been there and I am still in the game. I have stayed up twenty hours a day on countless occasions; I have been so deeply involved with projects that I go without sleep for 36 hours. I know there are entrepreneurs who stay up longer than I do but I am not complaining or bragging; I am just trying to make you understand involved with running a business.
“It’s not work, if you are having fun.” – Pierre Omidyar
All successful entrepreneurs; even the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison and the school drop out billionaires went through this stress; and this stress is mostly associated with the startup phase and the growth phase.
"You must not only learn to live with tension, you must seek it out. You must learn to thrive on stress." – J. Paul Getty
Though I know that stress and hard work are part of the game; I want you to understand that your business is not your entire life, as much as it may seem to be. Many entrepreneurs tend to be so immersed and dedicated to running the affairs of their business that they forget other aspects of their life. I know this because I’m also guilty of it.
Building a business has made me less social; I have fewer friends and attend less social events. I only attend social events where there’s need for it; and I also attend events where I’m sure to meet business minded individuals. 90% of my friends are business people and I spend over 70% of my time doing business.
“Be careful of the environment you choose for it will shape you. Be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” – W. Clement Stone
In retrospect, I believe that the earlier you come to acknowledge that your business is but one aspect of your life that also includes friends, family, personal needs and issues, the better for you. I am not advising you alone, I’m also talking to myself. We are entrepreneurs; we are all in the same game and entrepreneurial process. So I can’t be advising you without putting into practice what I preach.
A good way to achieve success in your business is by succeeding in the personal and social development area of your life. A balance must be struck between the three. True success cannot be achieved in one area of your life and not another. This is how personal development, social development, and business development are all linked together.
“Work hard, have fun. Make history.” – Jeff Bezos
Personal development is simply how you handle your life, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and reactions. Personal development techniques include goal setting, changing to a positive mindset, and learning to deal with all situations in a positive manner. These skills will transfer to the workplace in business development. Without goal setting, stress management, character building, emotional control, time management skills, and positive thinking; it’s not possible for an entrepreneur to build a successful business.
Social development on the other hand is simply how you relate with people. People skills and social development are vital key points in any successful business development plan. Its importance can never be over emphasized.
The dangers of not paying attention to the personal development aspect of your life
I believe that not paying attention to the personal development aspect of your life has a corresponding effect that will come back to hit you like karma. Just like the popular sayings “as you lay your bed, so you lie on it” and “what you sow, you reap.” If you invest in the personal development aspect of your life by building your personal skills; you will end up emerging a good character with a strong positive mindset. You won’t easily be moved by trials, business challenges and criticism.
In retrospect, I believe that lack of a well defined personal development strategy is the reason some entrepreneurs end up becoming egoistic and arrogant after making a lot of money. Lack of a personal development plan is also the reason most entrepreneurs develop repulsive attitudes and lose their integrity in the face of business challenges or criticism. And ultimately, lack of a personal is the sole reason some rich individuals commit suicide after being hit by a financial storm.
"Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars." – Warren Buffett
"If I lose a billion dollars, I will have it back in less than five years." – Henry Ford
The dangers of not paying attention to the social development aspect of your life
As an entrepreneur; your interaction with employees, investors, customers and clients or prospects is just as important as your actual work performance. Social development skills include situation management, public relationship, problem solving, dispute resolution, and communication skills. Without proper social development, a successful business can never be built.
Lack of a well defined social development plan can result to poor customer relationship and poor communications between you and your employees. Not paying attention to the social development aspect of your life might result in difficulties for you when raising capital for your business.
How can you raise venture capital, find good customers or pitch angel investors when you are not socially connected? How can you source for contracts, get business contacts and referrals when you are not socially connected? How can you encourage word of mouth advertising when you are not social? These questions I believe will make you understand the importance of investing in your own social development.
How do you develop your personal and social life with respect to business?
Apart from helping with your business development process, personal and social development will also affect the way you run your personal life. Through personal development skills such as time management and organizational skills; you will be able to manage your finance and household more efficiently. This will enable you enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Social development will help you build stronger relationships with your customers, suppliers, investors, employees, business associates, friends and family; and also help you gain more support from these groups than you ever have, through improved communication skills.
You can improve your personal skills by engaging in personal development activities or taking personal development courses. You can read books, attend seminars and personal development programs, watch inspirational movies and undertake tasks voluntarily.
You can also improve your social life with respect to business by engaging in positive social activities. You can read books such as Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people.” You can also improve yourself socially by attending seminars, business expos, business meetings and conferences, luncheons, fund raising events, corporate parties, annual general meetings and positive events organized by family and friends. Engaging in debates and discussions can also help your social development process.
"It is better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you will drift in that direction." – Warren Buffett
Unfortunately, just as there are obstacles to business development; there are also obstacles to personal and social development which I would like to point out. But in all; by developing your personal, social and business skills, one will undoubtedly resolve the others.
For instance, if your business development is hindered by a lack of financial support; working on your social development skills like communication can gain you the support you need from investors, friends and family. If you have trouble developing social skills due to hindrances from past events or criticisms; then you can focus on personal development by changing your mindset and your approach towards situations.
As a final note, I want you to know that success in business is dependent on your ability to strike a balance between personal and social development. Since your ultimate goal is to become a successful entrepreneur and a big business owner, personal and social development will help you realize your goals and ultimately become the successful entrepreneur you have always dreamt of.
So at this stage, I encourage you to not only focus on business development but to pay more attention to the personal and social development aspect of your life. It will yield good returns in the long run. See you at the top.