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Self Improvement: 6 things you can do to enhance yourself and career

Posted by Chad O'Connor  September 20, 2012 11:00 AM

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Regardless of your career level, there is always room for improvement. Often the focus tends to be on obstacles rather than strategies. There are numerous things you can do to improve yourself starting with setting goals and developing a plan of action that includes professional development, physical fitness, and even getting a little creative. The following are some possibilities to try:

Take a Communication Skills Class
Not everyone has perfected public speaking. In fact, many people fear it. Everyone has the potential to speak well, and it is just a matter of practice, training, and unleashing potential. A public speaking class can be very beneficial to anyone that wants to enhance their speaking skills.

Also, better communication skills lead to better personal and professional relationships.
Verbal and non-verbal cues and listening skills all play an important role in the communication process. According to Juline Godin, Consultant & Trainer at Dale Carnegie, we should always be aware of how we are communicating with others. “Communication training builds confidence and the overall sense of professional self when one can present themselves well. Confidence allows us to feel more connected to the audience and be more natural,” said Godin. Godin further noted that “The same communications skills that were important 100 years ago are still important in today’s digital age where sometimes one-on-one people skills are neglected.”

Read Motivational Books
An inspirational book can be incredibly powerful and can act like an executive coach to motivate you, teach you how to move forward, and help you get that much closer to what you consider success. One book I highly recommend is “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” by Jack Canfield.

Tap Into Your Inner Creativity
According to Rochelle Seltzer, Principal of Rochelle Seltzer: Design Strategy and Psycho-Creative Counselor, everyone is born with a core of creativity. Activating your creativity helps you tap into emotions, be sensitive to the world around you, and can help you think more creatively in the workplace.

Seltzer believes there are 3 important steps to take to be more fulfilled and creative. They are:

  • increase self love
  • recognize and silence the self critic
  • actively engage in creative expression

That can include keeping a sketchbook, writing, dancing, taking a creative class, or whatever you are inspired to do. Seltzer said, "See what excites you at any given time and go with it." A fun way to start is to go on an adventure to a place you have never been and really take in the surroundings. Surprise yourself as often as possible.”

Take Up Pilates, Yoga, and Other Exercise
There are so many benefits to exercise, such as good health, self confidence, positive endorphins, better sleep, and stress relief. An effective form of exercise to try is Pilates.

Sarela Bliman-Cohen, product management consultant and Pilates instructor, said “Pilates is a very challenging total body workout, and it makes you feel energized. After working all day long, Pilates is very satisfying.”

Pilates is a very focused form of exercise that forces you think about every movement and so much control is involved. That sense of focus can carry over to the workplace and help you with the ability to better focus at work. “It is often said that people that take Pilates gain 2 inches in height. This occurs by fixing and being mindful of posture, lengthening muscles, and fixing muscular imbalances and tightness,” said Julie Erickson, Owner of Endurance Pilates and Yoga.

Also consider Yoga and other forms of exercise like walking or running, and find what works best for you. Increased physical fitness will build confidence.

Find a Mentor
According to Connie Wright, Managing Partner at Patina Solutions, a good mentor will advocate for their mentee and help them advance in their career. Wright said "It is very important that the personalities are a match in a mentor/mentee relationship." Sometimes there are situations where an informal relationship occurs, but the time commitment and drive is not always there. A mentor is more likely to spend the time with their mentee in a formal arrangement – that can provide real value. Face-to-face time is critical and allows for the mentor to really get to know the mentee and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Get Involved With a Non-profit Organization or Join a Committee
Not only is it very rewarding to get involved with a non-profit organization, help others, and give back, but it also helps you look at the world through a different lens and further appreciate the issues others face.

It is also rewarding to get involved in a committee, which will help you practice your people and leadership skills, useful in any situation, whether at work or not. Committee involvement will provide the opportunity to get to know more people and build relationships.

According to Canfield “You only have control over three things in your life — the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior). How you use these three things determines everything you experience.” Why not take that advice, think positively, and try some of the above tips. They can all contribute to improving yourself and your career. At the very least, they can be interesting to try if you haven’t already!

Ellen Keiley is President of the MBA Women International Boston Chapter Board of Directors, a member of the City Year and United Way Boston Women’s Leadership Initiatives, and a Boston World Partnerships Connector. She can be contacted at

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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