There appears to be a notion that after college, the learning stops and we finally begin focusing on solely the ‘work’. I mean, that’s why we go to college, correct? Our days post college are pretty routine. Work life consists of similar tasks that apply skills we have utilized for quite some time. Sounds like you? This behavior is the cause of so many brilliant ideas, talent, and minds not being pushed and excelling into their highest potential. Your highest potential doesn’t begin by doing the same thing you have been doing over and over without seeing any sort of real end goal. Yes, repetition and consistency are important. But studying how to be even better than before is the proper ammo necessary to fully execute your professional potential. You need to stop being static, and start being a student.
What does that even mean? YOU NEED TO BE LEARNING. Plain and simple, always. In this fast pace tech forward world, the knowledge you learned 5 years ago is nearly obsolete in many industries. This is a powerful time in history, where staying connected and up to date on new technologies, programs, and trends is vital to being relevant in today’s working world. Take social media marketing, for example. This wasn’t even a concept 10 years ago! The growth of social media marketing is for many companies where the majority of their marketing budget goes toward- and for a good reason. It’s the window of who your consumers are. Understanding this is key for businesses. How in the loop are you about social media? Do you utilize google analytics to its full potential? Are you properly targeting your market within campaigns? Social media marketing is just one example of the hundreds of other industries that have changed through this internet era. Thanks to the worldwide web, knowledge is growing, and it’s growing fast. Don’t get left behind!
If you’re becoming aware that you may be a little behind in the online world, I can almost guarantee you are not adequately allocating your monetary resources. Today it’s so easy to take advantage of consumers. As brilliant the web is for business, it has the amazing ability to take advantage of those who don’t understand it. Alongside efficient techniques to maximize your business- there are now more scammers than ever, endless useless programs, and a plethora of false information. It’s easy to understand why some business owners are saying no to the modern way of business and sticking to what they know. As ‘safe’ as that may be, it’s an incredible hold back to your business potential. The best idea is to confront what you don’t know and simply learn. And there amazing resources out there to bring you to your next level. I know I’ve focused a lot on learning tech stuff, but any industry you work with, there is guaranteed to be a more efficient and effective ways of doing the job- and ultimately getting you to the next level professionally.
So, the next question comes: Where do I start?
There is SO MUCH TO LEARN. It can almost be overwhelming. What do you pick? Consider what your dream life is. What is the life you are striving to have? What is it you want to accomplish? Now think of the skills you need to get there. Have you been moving forward consistently to get there? If not, what skills do you need to keep moving forward? This can be networking skills, management skills, business growth skills- heck, it can even be personal development skills. But whatever you do pick to focus on, make sure it coincides to the life you actually want to live. You don’t want to learn things just to learn. It needs to be skills that you can actually practice and use in whatever your end goal is. For example, if you’re making your list of things you want to learn and they consist of French, Statistics, Art History, Financial Investing, etc.- really consider how applicable they are to your life. Without focus, your list of things to learn can be never ending! The point isn’t to learn for the sake of learning- learn for the sake of moving your life’s purpose forward. What’s the point of learning French if you will never practice it and you can never see it being actually utilized? Learn something that will apply to your dream life.
The Learning Process
- Define the Dream
- So what is it that you want to effect? Think big! Your life’s purpose isn’t about doing well at the quarter reports- it’s about having a real impact on something you care about. Maybe it’s working toward helping stop domestic violence, maybe it’s toward becoming the best financial advisor in the country- whatever it is, don’t minimize it. Let your potential soar without the barriers of doubt. Define what you truly want to strive towards. If you’re reading this thinking, ‘I don’t have a dream life…’ then find one! What a sad place to be in when you have no desires or passion. Go see the world! Find your passion! Meet a different crowd of people. Get away from the computer and leave your comfort zone. Discover what you care for. Enlightenment is the decision to address what you want in life.
- Reflect Where You’re At
- It’s important to have an honest conversation with yourself. How close are you to following the path of your dream life? Is what you’re doing everyday pushing you forward, setting you back, or keeping you at one point. If you feel static, let that awareness motivate you to change. Making a real influence with your purpose begins with acknowledging where you are at now.
- Make the List
- Now that you know what you want to work towards and have assessed where you are at now, make the list of skills you need to do to keep moving forward! It may be long, or it may be surprisingly short. Jot it all down to help clarify the milestones and direction necessary to keep moving.
- Figure out what is the most important to learn. Rank your skills in urgency level so you don’t end up overwhelmed. It’s easy to look at a list and feel discouraged. Making it a ‘step by step’ process will help alleviate intimidation.
- Start the Plan
- You know what you want, where you’re at, and what you need to know- now START! Get organized with a calendar and schedule learning into your day. Everyone uses the excuse ‘I have no time,’ but it’s just that. An excuse. If you have time to make a meeting with someone, you have time to schedule this in. Be disciplined in your work and the best will come back.
Good news is that whatever achievement you want, the skills are out there waiting for you to learn them. We have the luxury of having billions of people live before us. I guarantee there has been someone with the same questions and issues as you. Read more! Study more! Keep learning all you can!
So what are the tools out there today?
- For those looking to improve specific tech skills, business skills, and even creative skills- lynda.com is a great resource to take almost any course. They offer different prices based on size of use (corporation, small business, individual, etc.). Lynda.com is used for millions of people from Finance to Photography you can find a course. The great thing about Lynda.com is that you have access to all of it’s courses- and they have dozens! Check them out here: www.lynda.com
- YouTube is fantastic for quick lessons. You can search almost anything for a quick tutorial and it’s sure to pop up. Check it out here: www.YouTube.com
- DuoLingo is a great, free way to learn languages. Just a little practice everyday goes a long way and DuoLingo is easy to use on your computer or smartphone. Check out DuoLingo here: www.duolingo.com
Good ol’ Fashion Reading
- You can’t beat a good book. And there are endless books on just about any topic you can think of from people decades in the past to last year’s newest discoveries. Books are timeless and there is a lot that can be learned from autobiographies and non-fiction. Take time to inveset in a Kindle or iPad and read, read read!
The bottom line is that the more you learn and try, the more mastery and growth will become. Life is a huge opportunity, and opportunity appears more frequently in the grace of knowledge.
Staticity is danger disguised as safety. Own your purpose, and become a student.