The Power of Lifelong Learning
learn·ing /ˈlərniNG/ noun: learning
the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught. "These children experienced difficulties in learning"
There are so many benefits associated with continuous learning, and now, more than ever it is becoming more important with economic uncertainty. Opening your mind to new concepts and information can give you a competitive advantage in a job search or making good business decisions.
I've made it my goal to pursue higher education on an ongoing basis, and to that end, to make sure I'm learning in a way that suits my learning needs.
I recently embarked on a Mini MBA from UBC Sauder School of Business; I didn't know what to expect - I'm really happy with the amount of new knowledge I'm gaining with this investment. I've been in business for over 15 years and while I think I know the ropes pretty well, I'm smart enough to know where my gaps are. This year's education goal was to become a better business leader to round out my desire to become the total package in transformational leadership, and so far, this micro-ed course hasn't failed to deliver.
I've found the days and weeks very long since starting classes again, much like when I attended Yale School of Management for my Women's Leadership Program last spring. It can be a lot to balance being a wife, mother, athlete, business owner, client partner and expert in delivery, however; it's rewarding to shut my eyes at the end of each day, thinking about the expansion of my knowledge base and how this effort will continue to pay dividends in the future. (Not to mention, the intense exercise routine for my planning, time management and resiliency skills!)
There are many benefits of lifelong learning, some of them include:
Greater success in your current role or job search - knowledge really *is* power. The more you know, the better your circumstances will be. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”
Brain Health - studies published show that using our brains in intelligent ways prevents degeneration as we age. Our brain needs the exercise. Learning for brain health doesn't always mean being in the classroom - finding an interesting book, a documentary series or having intellectual conversations with the desire to learn from other people.
Connection & social networking - this can happen in the classroom, online during classes, in workshops, in community centres or even in online forums. The point is that it allows you to connect with other people, beef up your social network and stay engaged with relevant information and current events.
Personal fulfillment - it feels good to make yourself proud! Many people really like learning (*holds hand up*) and find it to be exciting to uncover new information and learn new things. Having a healthy curiosity for knowledge is a great appetite to have and it enables you to gain wisdom and make better life decisions.
I love to learn, I'm naturally curious and often ask "why" when someone says or does something. I probably have hundreds of articles saved or bookmarked to help in my practice and educate others. It's an essential part of staying relevant in helping others and keeps my practice fresh and exciting for long-term or repeat clients.
Here are my top tips for lifelong learning:
Know your learning style - we all learn differently, be okay with learning the way you do! I don't do well with very long, intensive learning - I know that about myself and tend to lean in on micro-education, which is smaller, intensive bursts of information over a period of weeks instead of a period of years.
Be open and curious - you don't know everything (unless you're a 14-year-old human, in which case you can just stop reading now...)
Find courses online or leverage the hundreds of free courses on LinkedIn - There's pretty much something for everyone and all of these resources are free!
Find classes that interest you or complement your current work (online or in person) through continuing education departments of your local or a favourable University. I've done education through Mount Royal, Yale and UBC in their Executive or Continuing Education. The experience has been so worthwhile each time!
Read or listen to audiobooks - I choose the latter because of my lifestyle and learning style. I can consume one audiobook a week when I find a stride here!
Research things that interest you - why is the sky blue? Why did the chicken cross the road? Who really did shoot JR? Asking critical questions and seeking out answers to satisfy your curiosity are great ways to stay sharp and in line with current events (Well ... maybe not who shot JR... but in case you were curious, I've linked it here. I didn't actually know this until now, because I was like ... a minute old when it happened ... #history)
Curious about how to go about kicking off your learning journey? Want to spitball ideas and come up with a personal plan to get your team engaged in learning? Reach out, a call doesn't cost a thing.