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Why Self-Improvement Matters to Our Team (and What We're Working on Right Now)

By Emily Smith on Tue, Sep 20, 2016

At Cobloom we work hard to develop our skills and create a work environment that prioritises learning and professional development. Always be learning is one of our key values, and it’s something we try and live by, inside and out of the office.

As well as prioritising self-development at work, we also try to develop beneficial habits to meet our own personal self-improvement goals at home. Today I’m sharing with you how this benefits our whole team, and what each of us is working towards right now.

What We’re Working on Right Now


Creative writing: One of my long-term goals is to write and publish a novel. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in my content creation role at Cobloom is how to create a writing habit: now I’m no longer just writing ‘when inspiration strikes’; instead I’ve set myself a manageable target of adding at least 200 words to my novel, five days a week.

Climbing: I've been climbing for a little over a year now - coincidentally at the same place where Will goes bouldering. Where he solely focuses on bouldering, I do a mix of everything: bouldering, top roping and lead climbing. It's taught me a lot about my mindset: I'm a lot more determined and much braver than I realised. I've been climbing at the 6a-6b grade for a little while now, and really want to start working towards a 7a.

Reading: I used to commute into London for work, and when I did I'd read at least one book a week. Now I struggle to read one book a month. So I'm trying to make space for reading every day, and aim to read one work-related and one fun book  a month.”


"Creative writing: I'm a bit obsessed with post apocalyptic fiction, and try and churn out a short story or a blog post each week. It's also great that I share a common goal with Emily: we keep each other accountable and motivated.

Speed-reading: I tend to have 2-3 books on the go at all times, and the faster I can power through them, the sooner I can start something new. I'm currently using the Tim Ferriss approach to speed-reading, and it's awesome.

Touch typing: Will is inhumanely good at touch typing, and the sound of his fingers clattering away at his keyboard always makes me envious. If I can type faster, I can capture my thoughts faster, so I've started using this website to boost my typing speed.

Meditation: because when you're trying to improve a billion different aspects of your productivity, you need to make time to step away and chill out. My go-to app is Headspace."


Self-awareness: currently I’m making a very deliberate and conscious effort to work on self-awareness: the conscious knowledge of my character, feelings, motives and desires. It wasn’t until I began to focus on improving self-awareness in a considered way, that I realised just how much we tend to be driven by motivations and feelings which live on in the subconscious. By making self-awareness a priority, I’m continually improving my decision making: both personally, and professionally.

Vulnerability: another core area I’ve been working on this year is vulnerability: making an effort to be more vulnerable in my interactions with others. Part of this has been contributing answers on Quora. I’ve answered questions about experiences of failure, for example. An additional part is taking more interpersonal risks in the day-to-day. I’m finding that it’s an excellent way to improve my relationships with others (from strangers, to friends and customers), and engagement with anything I write. All my most upvoted answers on Quora are answers where I’ve made myself vulnerable.

Bouldering (a form of ropeless climbing): I’ve been bouldering for about 18 months now, and I’ve found it’s been a great help having something outside of the business I can focus on improving each week. It keeps me more balanced, and less prone to the inevitable swings in mood associated with the Startup rollercoaster. I have a couple of bouldering goals I’m working towards: completing my first V5-V6 before the end of 2016, and making it to the bouldering wall at least 3 times per week. I’ve had a few injuries this year which have been major set-backs, but I’m now consistently climbing and improving again.”

How Self-Development at Home Benefits the Cobloom Team in the Office

Having self-improvement projects that we’re all working on outside of the office contributes to our company culture of valuing learning and personal growth.

We all have dedicated personal development time booked into our diaries every single week (Friday afternoon is a popular time for us) for self-improvement in the office, so creating self-improvement goals and habits outside of the office is a natural extension of this culture.

Additionally, many of the things we work on outside of the office tie in with our long-term career goals and priorities. As we have meetings every month to discuss our long-term career goals and identify how to progress these, it helps us to identify our immediate priorities and keep moving toward our Big Goals.

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