We go to school. We work. We start our careers. We build our resumes through building our experience. We attend training, conferences, seminars, and online training. We read books, magazine articles, and online newsletters. There comes a time we see the same topics and ideas over and over and if we are not careful, we start to doubt that there are any fresh ideas or new concepts, so we slow down our attendance, and we divert our attention. We worry we will waste time, money, and energy. Pushing through these worries takes courage. It takes paying even more attention, taking more notes, doing more research, talking to more people, and making networking a priority while we are there.
Then we have those things that we have heard about, read about, but haven’t tried or done ourselves. We may have allowed others with special expertise or talent to do them within our teams, or we may have always intended to grow our skills but didn’t take the time. In this case, we need to get moving.
I am suggesting that having the courage to learn means:
1. Never underestimating opportunities to learn, even when the topics are things that you are sure you know. Why? Because best practices, ideas, and business concepts that can help you will always evolve over time. That means that when I immediately disregard a book, a webinar, or a topic at a conference as being something I already know, I look a little closer. Sometimes, I find that I almost overlooked a new, fresh approach to something that will expand my knowledge. And with changes in how technology is used in both professional and personal life, I believe it is especially hard right now to keep up with the evolution of all things HR.
2. Realizing you can learn more than just the topic at hand. For example, attending a webinar about a topic I am already very familiar with allows me to pay attention to the graphics and visuals used, watch the facilitation methods, and get ideas to make training of my own better. Learning about the company and the facilitator, and exploring potential professional networking opportunities can also be a great take-away. Their use of technology, of storytelling, of captivating (or not) the audience all help me learn what to do, and what to avoid doing.
3. Learning by doing even when you’re not doing it well yet. Someone recently told me that writers often commit to writing daily. Whether they are in the mood or not. Whether they are feeling creative or not. By pushing through, learning by doing, they find their voice. We all know that mistakes facilitate learning. But it takes special courage to learn by doing and forces us to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. Pushing through will ensure you learn more, learn faster, and get better sooner.
So open yourself up to exploring something new from something familiar, dig deeper than the content at hand to learn what you can take-away, and push through even when you are doing something new that is not comfortable. Demonstrate courage today!
- The Six Attributes of Courage (psychologytoday.com)