I pose the question, often, “How do you best manage your time?” Since your time is your most valuable resource, it’s certainly the right question for you to answer. So, let's talk about what you do daily to grow and learn. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. There is no plateau. There is no holding pattern. Even if you believe you’re holding steady in a season of your life where you’re not growing, those closest to you will tell you that you’re regressing. If this is true – and it is – it poses this important question. How do you learn and grow daily?
What do you want to learn? Let's start with focus. This is the first guide. The subjects you could learn about and the material available for said learning are virtually unlimited. There is more to be learned than any of us could even begin to digest in a lifetime. So, this requires some focus on your part. If you’re on the path to accomplishing a given dream, your daily learning must center around that dream. Say you want to change careers and you want to become a CPA. You can devour books on chemistry, learn a ton, and still be no closer to your CPA dream. When we’re talking about daily learning, focus matters. Unless your goal is to be a Jeopardy champion, general knowledge is of little use. So, what do you need to learn? At this point, it makes sense to put this down on paper (or your phone or computer or whatever floats your boat). The point is, you’ll learn what you decide to learn. So, take the time to make it clear. This is where higher-education institutions really have things right. If your major is pre-med, there is a very detailed learning plan to get you the knowledge you need to get to your eventual goal of being a doctor. In your case, let your goals and dreams guide you. Take a fresh look at your goals and write down what you need to learn to make those a reality.
Who do you need to learn from? This is the next level question. This is a question of personality and media. You can learn from many different people via many different media. The step that you may be tempted to skip is research, but please don’t skip this step. Spend some time researching the voices out there. You can find a multitude of voices on any subject wrapped up in many different types of learning. Do yourself a favor and do the research and figure out what voices you want to learn from and via what media. These are decisions that will be driven by your goals, your preference, and the cost. You can learn a lot from free podcasts and from a Ph.D. program at a university. Neither is right nor wrong, but they are different delivery methods and carry vastly different costs. Here are some types of learning you can explore:
· Books. The most tried and true method is the good old-fashioned book. Imagine how different you would be if you set aside 30 minutes per day and devoted that time to a well-researched reading list.
· Podcasts. If you’re not leveraging this goldmine, I can’t understand why. We’re talking about thousands of experts delivering free content to you. If you subscribe, you don’t even have to go get it. It comes to you automatically. What if you redeemed that drive time to and from work each day listening to your chosen experts in your chosen field of learning? Wow.
· Mentors. You probably know people who are where you want to be. Have you considered asking them for a little of their time? My experience says that they almost always say yes. By the way, don’t ask someone to “be your mentor”. That’s weird and a red flag. Just attempt to spend time with these key people and make sure you reciprocate some value in the relationship.
· Coaches. Everyone who has a dream or goal needs a coach. Generally, you’re going to invest some money into coaching and it’s worth every penny. Why? Because your coach will ask you the hard questions that you don’t even know to ask. Then, he’ll hold you accountable to what you say you want to do. If you're interested in coaching with me, just click here to get started. We can discuss if that would be the right fit.
· Classes. This is the most expensive option, but depending on your goal, a degree may be needed. If so, this is a great learning option too. Do your research. Not all degrees are created equal and not all degrees carry the same price tag.
So, the final question. How much time will this all take? I’ll answer your question with a couple of my own. How much do you want to learn? How quickly do you want to make your dream a reality? If your current learning plan is non-existent, then any time spent is an improvement, but if you’re serious about becoming a student and eventually an expert, in your chosen field, 60 minutes per day is a great place to begin. Imagine if you spent an average of one hour per day learning and growing in the specific areas you need to make your dream a reality? This time next year could look very different for you, indeed.