4 Self-Care Investments That Pay Huge Dividends

4 min read

Reading time: 3 min

CEO, Todd Pottebaum takes “clarity breaks” every Friday, a few hours committed to reading for self-improvement, a practice designed to help him lead QRG, the $35 million print and promotional products distributorship based out of Minneapolis. It’s a weekly investment that provides an opportunity for forward-thinking amid the constant clamor of deadlines and meetings.

Bill Gates, famously takes “Think Weeks” where he secludes himself twice a year for one-week reading retreats.

Whether you utilize a weekly, daily, or annual ritual, making time to routinely invest in yourself is critical for your professional and personal development.

Here are four ways you can invest in your future success utilizing the power of ritual and routine:

 

#1 The Daily Habit

 

Todd Pottebaum also shares with us that his daily reading habit is a ritual that sets in motion a readiness to lead while building a reflex that inspires critical thinking. One of the secrets is the ritual itself. Our minds are hardwired to use routines and rituals “to make us who we are…deep grooves…tracks…to travel somewhere,” writes Patti Smith.

The dancer Twyla Tharp begins each day with a ritual, “I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside … hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the gym, where I work out for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.” The ritual readies the mind and body for work. Some meditate. Some walk. Some run. Some read. The important thing is to create a daily habit that replenishes your well-being.

 

#2 The Monthly Peer Group

 

Todd also shares how he participates in a monthly CEO peer group called Vistage. There are many professional peer groups, monthly meetings of like-minded peers, usually organized according to discipline or profession. One key to finding the right group is to look for three traits: the group must be inspiring, informative, and involved. Look for communities committed to making investments in each other; no passive participants, lean-forward listeners only, professionals who commit themselves to active community and constructive guidance.

 

#3 The Weekly (Virtual) Board of Advisors

 

Create a personal board of advisors. I have a personal board of directors that I consult with weekly. They have no idea, of course, that they are my advisors, but I read them regularly. People like Fred Wilson (A VC), Anil Dash, Avinash Kaushik, Jeffrey Zeldman, Rohit Bhargava, David Simon, Robert McKee, Bob Bly, Ann Handley, and about two dozen more.

How do I learn from them? The old fashioned way, reading their content via feeds (I use Feedly, image at left). In Feedly, I have a category called “The Board” and turn to them, regularly. Influencers and mentors, they provide a weekly dose of inspiration and insight. Because we incessantly consume information through our social feeds, we think we are consciously processing helpful information from thought leaders, but usually, the best think-pieces are lost, carried away by the riptide of frivolous information.

By segmenting your board, you train your mind to prepare for active listening. Create a virtual advisory board and subscribe to their newsletters and blogs. Make it a weekly ritual to expand your mind and ignite your imagination.

 

#4 The Mentoring Meeting

 

Seek a mentor. Be a mentor. Visit weekly or monthly with a mentor or mentee. Make it a 15-minute phone call, a weekly lunch, or a monthly 1-hour chat over coffee. The reciprocal rule of reversal is powerful with mentorship: mentees inevitably teach mentors as well, or as J. M. Coetzee wrote, “ the one who comes to teach learns the keenest of lessons.” A good place to start is the promotional products industry’s mentorship program through PromoKitchen.

Proactive personal development is often too carelessly cast aside due to our busyness. Maybe when things slow down, we think. But things rarely – if ever – slow down, which is why self-care must become a habit through routine tasks that we inject into our ordinary work week via small investments: daily, weekly, or monthly rituals that, over the long-haul, pay huge dividends.

Do you have a proactive, personal development ritual? Share this article and share your idea, we’d love to add more to this list!

You can learn more about Todd’s personal development practices through our recent podcast discussion, Investments that Keep You on a Path of Well-Being and Success:


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Also published on Medium.