With the buzz of kids going off to a new school term, I’ve been thinking about the importance of continued learning for us ‘grown ups’ for our career acceleration and ongoing performance effectiveness.
Our opportunity to learn is all around us in so many formats. However, many of us fall into the trap of natural complacency and the comfort of a career or a role that we don’t pursue the chance to actively keep learning as we get older. Along with this feeling of complacency also comes excuses. Lack of time, lack of company funds or a poor training policy were my personal favourites for why I simply stopped investing in learning.
But learning is so important and a key foundation of self leadership because learning delivers –
A greater range of perspective, ideas & creativity
Feeds your curiosity
Builds expertise & skills
Makes us more willing to challenge
Personal development & growth
A competitive advantage
The successful achievement of dreams, visions, career acceleration and business growth
A smile on your face!
So how can you get back in tune with learning?
Be mindful and attentive to daily lessons
We have no excuse not to learn. To start with we can learn something every day simply through taking time to review and reflect on the actions we take, the mistakes we make and the interactions we have. Being mindful and attentive to daily lessons of personal performance – thoughts, emotions and behaviour – is active learning you can do without the need for investment, too much time and a company policy. It just needs discipline, habit and prioritisation.
Expose your vulnerability
Admitting you don’t know everything can take a lot of courage and requires us to expose a level of vulnerability. Many would rather stand still than expose their imperfections. To disclose a weakness takes a personal strength and self-confidence which can be tough. Ignoring the inner critic whispers off comparison and perfection is difficult. I have three tips to I use to help push past fear of exposing vulnerability;
Discover and write down positive empowering beliefs around the importance, the results and the additional benefits of learning. Repeat these daily to yourself to counter the negative whispers.
Use self talk to remind yourself of ‘what you do well’ and take the focus off what you need to develop.
Embrace the idea of ‘individuality’ and personal needs to fight comparison.
Set a goal
Accepting you need to learn more is one thing but knowing what to learn and how to go about it is another. Get clear on your learning goal to set a direction and then start researching to unearth the options and the steps you’ll need to achieve the goal.
Maximise ‘dead’ time
No matter how busy we believe we are there is always ‘dead time’ which could be used more effectively. Challenge all limiting beliefs around not having time to learn straight away! Be honest with yourself about how much time you waste on leading yourself with poor choice of activity which could be used more effectively to feed the mind. Travel time, for example, I class as ‘dead time’. Even if your trips are 10 minutes or an hour or more you could use this time to learn – constructive reading, watching a ted talk or listening to a podcast or audio book spring to mind rather than aimless web surfing.
So do you think you are learning enough? Why not make a conscious decision this month to increase your learning by taking these steps ….
Ask yourself ‘if I could learn one thing this month what would it be? and set a learning goal
Create space to reflect, review and make note of your daily learnings at the end of every day
Review how you spend your time and spot ‘dead time’
Create a new habit – formally make time in the schedule ‘for learning’
Investigate new courses, webinars, training opportunities, podcasts and audio books
Chose to lead yourself to success effectively with greater emphasis on learning and you will start to close the gap between where you are today and where you want to be.