In my opinion, there are not enough hours in a day to explore and learn all of the things that I want to understand more about. I don’t know who invented the term, “lifelong learning”, but I would like to meet and applaud their wisdom.
Our world is changing so quickly, that if you are not self-motivated to read, study, attend seminars, log into webinars, go to conventions or take a class, you will be left in the dust by those who do. In today’s environment, keeping up with what’s new and what’s on the horizon, can spell success or failure for you and your company.
After all, I don’t know of any college degree focused on social media – and, I believe we all see the value social media is playing in marketing strategy. I haven’t seen a Masters Degree offered in mobile marketing or QR Codes, but I know both have an important role in an organization’s strategic marketing plan.
We have become a country of “instant gratification” – we are not willing to wait for anything, nor invest significant time in anything. In addition, many expect others to take care of business, inform them, lead them and just overall take care of them. We feel entitled! At some point, we must all realize that our lives are our responsibilities. Our job, our health, our physical fitness, our relationships and our intelligence level all are OUR responsibilities. It is no one else’s “fault” that I haven’t lost those 20 lbs. I’ve been talking about for the last 3 years – it’s my responsibility! I believe we must take the initiative to seek out, learn, practice and then master life skills that will enrich our life personally and professionally.
In large corporations you may have the luxury of someone on staff who is willing to help you formulate a self-development plan, whereby you progress and learn to better serve the organization and promote yourself. In small to mid-size companies, that staff person doesn’t usually exist. If you are going to wait for someone to take you by the hand and lead you and develop you, then you may be waiting forever.
We are so willing to spend our money for big-screen televisions, stereo systems, exotic vacations, luxury sports cars and logo-ed clothing, but hesitate to purchase a book. We are eager to cut our workday short to participate in sports or Happy Hour, but refuse to spend any time in self-education. Our intelligence and talents are our collateral in the world of business. Investing time in our personal development is an investment that will payoff.
Research shows that profit-leaders in industry do several things differently from the profit-laggards. One of those differentiators is that they encourage their employees, particularly their managers, to get outside themselves and the company. They understand the value of learning from others – attending seminars, conventions, roundtables and classes. They realize that when we are doing the same thing day in and day out, it’s very easy to get tunnel vision, and an outside perspective can re-ignite our creative thinking skills and lead us into new products, new services and other revenue-generating activities.
Do you have 30 minutes a day that you would be willing to invest in yourself and your future? How about spending those 30 minutes reading a business book, reviewing your industry publication, researching upcoming trends, visiting your competitor’s website or signing up for a seminar? Thirty minutes a day equates to 182 hours a year. Just think of how much your career could benefit from 182 hours of personal development.
When you reach the point that you believe you know everything there is to know, or when you decide that you are finished learning, then know that you are indeed finished! Open your mind to the possibilities of lifelong learning!