When I first started at Embryo Digital, one of the things I really loved about our search agency was how much we were encouraged to read outside of work. At first, I must admit I didn’t think that reading a book about my personal or professional development would have much of an impact on my thought processes and the way I approached different situations inside or outside of work. I quickly realised that I was very wrong indeed.
This book covers exactly what it says on the cover… It helps us get our ducks in a row (in a more professional way of putting it). It looks at a variety of topics such as:
- Finances and learning ways to save- Did you know that by putting something as small as £2 per day away for 12 months can give you a pot of £720.00? This may not seem like a lot however, £720.00 is certainly better than £0.00. So if this is something you manage to complete then you should be very proud of yourself!
- Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing- Sometimes we need to understand that it is more than ok to say NO. Don’t feel bad for wanting to have a bubble bath and read a book instead of sticking to that plan you originally accepted. In this day and age, looking after your own health and well-being is really important so make sure you are taking some time out for yourself.
Mindset- Carol Dweck
This is by far one of my favourite books for professional development. As we all know the importance of having the right mindset is crucial when it comes to our actions and decision making. Dweck outlines the difference between having a fixed and a growth mindset, whilst explaining how these come hand in hand with our abilities and talent for our successes.
She emphasises why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t always have the effect we would like on our self-esteem, but may actually jeopardise success.
Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?
Fixed- “A ‘fixed mindset’ assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.”
Growth- “A ‘growth mindset,’ on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team- Patrick Lencioni
This fable, is particularly helpful for anyone who is managing a team, hopes to lead one, or is simply part of a team. It is a useful read for anyone in a company of employees who wish to work together to help grow the business. The story introduces you to a variety of team members working within different departments whilst working to achieve the same goal. Each team member is introduced to the following dysfunctions:
- Absence of Trust
- Fear of Conflict
- Lack of Commitment
- Avoidance of Accountability
- Inattention to Results
We learn about why these five things are so important for a team to function at the top of their game.
How to Own the Room: Women and The Art of Brilliant Speaking – Viv Groskop
When each year comes to an end, I have a habit of writing down everything I am proud that I have achieved that year. This could be anything from, walking a mountain, getting a new car, hitting a savings amount, or doing something out of my comfort zone. Next, I write a set of goals I want to accomplish for the following year ahead so that I can look back on them at the end of the year. I repeat this whole process annually as it always gives me something to strive for.
One of my goals for this year was to start feeling more comfortable with public speaking because this is something I really admire when people have the confidence to speak up in a room full of people talking about their stories and whilst providing sound advice.
I received this particular book as a birthday gift earlier this year and it has provided me with some really inspiring tips and advice from successful women leaders of the world such as Michelle Obama, and many others that feature in the popular, Ted Talks. The book focuses on public speaking, body language, asking the right questions, tone of voice, and even the pace at which to speak.
It was a perfectly timed gift, as earlier this year I was asked to deliver recorded video interviews with people from different businesses for our very own Embryonic Marketing Manchester Summit. This was something I had never done before, so despite my nerves, I had to keep referring back to my original goal at the start of the year. Each night I would read a section of the book and learn all about topics like ‘power poses’ and speaking slowly in a calm tone of voice. Despite these seeming like small considerations, I found myself thinking about them before and during my interviews which really helped me to feel more confident when liaising with the interviewees.
Once I had completed the summit series of videos, I then went a step further and signed up to get involved with the Digital Her first roadshow of the year where we were provided with the opportunity to speak with young females in education. We helped answer any questions they had, provide advice for their futures, as well as share our own career path stories and the skills we use every day in the Digital & Tech industry.
So, whilst lock-down is still among us (yet becoming slightly easier), I would highly recommend using the time we have available to invest in as many books (or online courses / podcasts) as possible and learn as much as you can. It will be a very competitive market for businesses and individuals as we slowly break out of COVID-19 and you want to be sure you are putting yourself out there, and breaking your comfort zone at every opportunity possible.