I’m here at the National Speakers Association annual convention in San Diego, CA. Once a year, about 1,500 of the best speakers in the world gather to network with and learn from each other. This year, in attendance are speakers from 22 countries and people who speak on every imaginable subject, and many more that you couldn’t even imagine. We have many main stage speakers and over 50 concurrent sessions to choose from.
For me, after over a dozen years of coming to these events, the best part is not how much I learn, but how effectively many of the presenters provoke my thinking and leave me asking questions I don’t have ready answers for. This year was no exception and I’m going to offer you two questions that have really made me step back and look. I hope they will do the same for you.
The first question is: how much time are you taking each day getting better at your craft? For me, as a professional speaker, the question was intended to have me look at how much time I’m spending daily getting better on the platform, getting better as a presenter, getting better as a seminar leader, getting better as a coach, and getting better as a retreat leader. Really great questions and my obvious answer is: not nearly enough.
So I ask you: how much time are you taking each day getting better at what you do? Do you just go to work every day and do the same thing over and over again? Or do you take some time, any time, getting better at what you do? Do you take classes, go to seminars, read books, ask for help? Or do you just take it all for granted and assume you’re as good as you need to be. Here’s something I can promise you: you may be as good as you need to be, but you’re surely not as good as you could be.
I’m really going to take this question to heart and I encourage you to do the same. I’ve been doing most of what I’ve been doing for many years and I think I’m pretty good at it. But after watching some of the presenters here, I’m clear I can be a lot better than I am. And I’m confident that’s true for you to, which is why I said you’re surely not as good as you could be. I encourage you to take some time each day getting better. It surely can’t hurt and may really help take your career up to the next level.
The second question is: Am I providing the best ROI for the minutes I’ve been given on the stage? For me, again as a professional speaker, the question was intended to have me look at whether my client is receiving the best return on his or her investment for whatever time I was given to present my program. My first reaction was to answer yes, but I’m surely not going to leave it there. I’m really going to take a look and make sure that the answer really is yes.
So I ask you: someone is paying you for what you do, correct? Whether you work for a company or yourself, someone is paying you for what you do. Is that person or company getting the very best return on the investment they’re making in you? Are you giving whoever is paying you the best of what you have? Are they getting the best of you and your talents and abilities?
One of the saddest realities of the American workforce is reflected in the latest Gallup poll which said that 70% of full time workers are either checked out or actively disengaged. So for them, the company that is paying them is surely not getting the best ROI for the investment they are making in them. But just because the other 30% are engaged at work, the question still remains. Again, I don’t know what the answer to this question is for you, but I surely invite you to look, as that is exactly what I’ll be doing.