by Phil Latz
Welcome to the third blog in my personal growth series that I hope will help you become more successful in your business.
As a business owner myself for many years, I understand the challenges that you face.
Today I’ll be sharing with you about continuous learning.
Back in the olden days, in other words, when I was a kid, you went to school, in many cases finishing at the end of the 10th grade, then got a job, that was often expected to last you until you retired.
How rapidly the world has changed!
Most people now don’t just have multiple job changes, but multiple career changes, in their lifetime. Some jobs that many people will be doing in a decade’s time don’t even exist today.
As for business, virtually every business has experienced radical changes to the products that they sell and the way they operate and interact with their customers.
To be successful in business, you need to abandon any concept that you go to school, graduate with a nice diploma to frame and that your learning days are over.
The more you learn, the more you earn!
In this blog, I’m going to look at how to find the time to learn, how to learn and where to find sources of learning. I’ll also discuss who to learn from and what to learn.
Let’s start with time.
You might be thinking, I’m too busy to learn! I’m so busy running my business that I don’t have time for anything else.
In his best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Steven Covey wrote that the seventh habit, that surrounds and empowers the other six, is to sharpen the saw. That means taking time out to think and learn, as well as exercise and renew.
The relatively small amount of time that you invest in learning will make you more effective for the entire remainder of your working life.
If you make it a priority, you will make time to learn. As I’ll demonstrate in a future video, you need to put the big rocks into your finite bucket of time first.
We all waste a lot of time. If you watch TV, then you have time to learn.
If you have a commute to work or travel between jobs, then you have time to listen to a podcast or audiobook.
Now I’d like to share with you about mentors.
One of the best ways to learn is to find someone, often older than yourself, who has already achieved what you’re aiming to do. Perhaps not in the exact same field, but possibly a related industry.
You’ll be amazed how generous people will be with their time and knowledge if they find someone who is genuinely interested in learning and who respects their experience.
For years I used to keep in touch with the owner of a larger, but otherwise similar independent media company to our own.
I’d travel interstate to meet this man, sometimes over lunch, or at other times over the phone. We’d compare notes about a whole range of key issues, challenges and changing trends in our industry.
We both found this to be a valuable relationship, but I suspect I got the most out of it!
Ok, let’s assume that I’ve successfully convinced you that you need to keep learning. How should you go about it?
For starters, don’t just listen or read passively. You need to take notes! Whether on paper or electronic device. Even if you never refer to these notes again, the process of taking them makes you listen more deeply.
If you’re in a class or at any sort of seminar or other events, be one of those people who sit up the front and asks questions.
Break things down into bite-sized chunks. Many business books and teachings are too information-dense to read in one sitting. Just like this video series, it’s more effective if you don’t watch more than a couple in any one sitting.
Different people learn differently, you might be a visual person, an audio person, or a written word person. Just go with what works best for you.
Learn beyond your particular specialty. For example, biographies can be inspiring and you can learn from the life experiences of others.
Today there are so many sources of information and learning options.
Of course, there’s still traditional formal training such as an MBA from a university or another formal course.
But these days there are so many more ways to learn. You have options ranging from YouTube videos to podcasts, books, audiobooks, webinars, conferences and seminars, trade shows, business coaching and more.
Don’t be afraid to invest money in your education. Surveys have shown that it’s one of the most cost-effective investments that you can make.
But do your research before you hand over your hard-earned money.
For example, for many years I’ve been investing in property and doing renovations and upgrades to these properties.
There are so many property ‘gurus’ out there offering ‘must-do’ property courses that usually run into the thousands of dollars.
I went to the free seminars for just about all of them, before selecting the one I thought was best for me. Then I invested a significant amount of money, not to mention many hours of my time over a couple of solid years of after-hours training.
I’m confident that it was a wise investment.
It has already paid for itself off many times over, and will continue to do so many more times, provided I don’t drop dead any time soon and that I keep investing.
I hope that you can now understand why it’s important to have a mindset of curiosity and continuous learning. If you look at successful business people, you’ll find these to be common traits.
In the next blog in this series, I’m going to reveal some key differences that separate successful business owners from unsuccessful ones.
I believe that with passion, consistent effort and wise advice you can succeed in your business.
I wish you all the best and I’ll see you next time.