Professional Development
March 9, 2020
By Brett Grischo


I used to think it was fun to hang out at the bookstore near the self-help aisle and judge everyone that browsed the section. Actually, I may or may not still think its fun. We all need help and I can only imagine what the person watching me watch the self-help book seekers is thinking about me as I not so discreetly stare, raise an eyebrow and stroke my bearded chin in contemplation as to that person’s internal demons.

I especially like it when someone takes a few books off the shelf and parks themselves on a chair to peruse various titles. I speculate as to what category they pulled from and what they are hoping to learn. Are they evolving? Recovering? Trying to get healthier mentally and/or physically? Or are they trying to figure something out about themselves? Or about someone they know? Are they an introvert or extrovert? Are they crazy? Deep down, I hope they are a little bit crazy. But I hope it’s the crazy they can live with or fix, through self help books of course!

When the person gets up and leaves their stack of self-help books on the end table, less the one or two they decided to purchase, I scurry over from behind the oversized coffee table books section and plop myself down in their warm troubled seat. I look at the books they were leafing through and inevitably find something that interests me – ‘Hmmm, yeah, I could really learn from this…’ And then I wonder what book(s) that person bought and figure I’m missing out on something really good and how will I ever improve myself and my life without the knowledge purchased by the brave stranger hopefully oblivious to my perverse stalking – who really needs help here people!?

We all can use help. I love personal and professional development opportunities. I think the lines are blurred between work life and personal life so any help for one side will help for the other as well.

In the past, I’ve been part of organizations such as EO, 4A’s and other advertising/marketing associations that often provide learning and/or growth opportunities. Explore Communications is involved with AMA/BMA, Denver Ad Club, SecondWind and a few other associations that are excellent resources.

Personally, I read a ton of non-fiction that you may or may not find in the self-help section of Tattered Cover. Recently, I enjoyed Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness, Adam Grant’s Originals, Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers and I’m currently in the middle of Stealing Fire by Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler. I also read classics every year or two such as The Four Agreements and fiction cross-overs such as The Alchemist.

True, there are so many options out there and its hard to choose what to read next. My home is basically is book store of read and unread books. If you are having trouble picking what to read next, let The Next Big Idea Club do it for you!

If you’d rather watch than read, I highly recommend taking a MasterClass. There is some reading attached via workbooks, assignments and class forums, but mostly I just watch awesomely produced lessons from brilliant people in various creative fields. So far I’ve done Aaron Sorkin, Malcolm Gladwell, Anna Wintour, David Mamet and I’m currently loving everything David Sedaris is teaching.

I’ve also delved out of the marketing/advertising specific world to find conferences that inspire me from a variety of topics and disciplines. The Summit LA19 conference was one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended. I’m excited to be going to Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival in NYC this May. I’m checking out A-Fest as well.

Of course there are industry newsletters, blogs, podcasts, trade publications and seemingly countless other business focused options to peruse which I try to scroll through weekly. That is on top of books and newsletters and blogs, etc., on topics such as meditation, stoicism, Buddhism (or whatever religion you are interested in and/or practicing), wellness, health and lifestyle. Crunched for time? Check out Jason Silva’s Shots of Awe.  Five minutes or less of greatness on a variety of topics.  Heck, my sister even got me to buy a book about eating healthy called How Not to Die.

Its impossible to keep up with every relevant and interesting option for personal and professional growth. But its easy to include something, every day, that can help navigate this crazy world and one’s crazy mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *