For as long as I remember I’ve enjoyed learning new things. I’ve always been passionate about pushing myself – doing that next qualification or piece of learning.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t go on training for training’s sake – there has to be a purpose – but I do enjoy stretching myself and I feel more confident in my job if I know I’ve got that underpinning knowledge to back me up. It was one of the most challenging things I found about becoming Managing Director. Prior to that I had been an HR professional. I’d done all my qualifications (at night school around my job) and I felt pretty confident that I knew my stuff as an HR practitioner. Then I became MD of Persona and my confidence dropped through the floor! All of a sudden I didn’t feel like I had that knowledge base to back me up – I was exposed and my imposter syndrome went on red alert!!
I’m pleased to say that over the years in my role as MD I’ve managed to get that imposter syndrome back under control. I’ve done some qualifications and training and built my knowledge and skills in the role. I also realised that learning wasn’t all about training.
There are learning opportunities around us all of the time if we are open to seeing them and making the time for them.
Now making the time really isn’t easy – I get that. Like many of you I work full time and have a young family that I want to enjoy spending time with – but it’s surprising what you can fit in to your time if you really want to. Remember – Keep Learning is one of the 5 ways to Wellbeing so if we can find the time to do it then it actually makes you feel better about life.
So what ways of learning have I come across that don’t involve sitting in a training room?
Well first of all there is the simple act of reading. Yes – all of our digital world has taken us away from just having a good book to hand that we can dip in to when we get a spare ten minutes. I have to say this is one of things I desperately want to improve on – I have a stack of books that people have recommended to me but very little quiet time to read them. However, when I do I learn new things – simple as that.
Secondly – and this isn’t actually one of mine it’s one of my daughter's – YouTube. If my 8 year old daughter wants to learn a new skill like crochet or how to use beads to make a bracelet, her default position is to look for a YouTube video. Really great if you learn best by watching something be done.
The next thing is experiencing other people’s worlds. For me this also ticks other boxes in terms of the Giving Back way to wellbeing. I volunteer to help out in my local community, as a coach to women in business and as a Trustee on a couple of other boards. Doing this is primarily about me doing something for others, but in the process of doing that I learn all kinds of things about myself, about other people and about how other organisations approach certain things. Fascinating stuff if you’re open to it.
And my final one is using Apps. Yes – get me! Tech friendly!! I’m currently using an App to coach me to improve my running. Never thought I would – not my thing at all so I thought… but I’m 3 weeks in and actually really enjoying the challenges it provides me with and learning about how to run in the best possible way.
And that’s just a snapshot. If you ask someone else they’d have a whole different list of ways they learn – maybe podcasts or TED talks are their thing.
All I’m saying is that learning is all around us if you open yourself up to the opportunity. Whatever works best for you because different people learn in different ways. The main thing is to be open to the fact that you can always learn something new.
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