“You can’t put an acorn in the ground and say ‘grow dammit!’ ” These wise words are those from Steve Stagner, Mattress Firm CEO. Listening to Steve speak about professional growth is always inspiring. When Steve gets a chance to speak to potential new hires of Mattress Firm he always stresses the importance of professional development. What Steve means by this quote is that as a company we can’t just hire new people into our organization and expect them to grow and be successful without the right atmosphere. We have to provide the right environment for them to thrive. We have to nurture the new hires and employees to grow. We have to provide them with the right amount of water, sunlight, soil, and, of course, time to grow and develop.
As a job seeker you need to consider what type of development and environment a company will provide you to grow. You also need to understand that you’re also personally responsible for your professional development. Relying on the company for your growth alone, simply will not work. Finding a place to work that will provide a positive environment for growth is only half the battle. Another inspirational quote from Steve, “Treat yourself as your own company, invest in your professional growth and personal brand.” Steve shared that in his professional career those who take time to invest in themselves as if they were their own company (ex. Steve Stagner Inc.) rise to the top 20% while those who don’t invest in themselves, stay in the bottom 80%.
Here are a few ways to invest in your personal brand (and help grow the acorn, dammit!):
1. Invest in professional attire
2. Read every day for 20 minutes. (Even if it is the newspaper!)