Forget resolutions and focus on being resolute about learning.
I am SO over New Year’s Resolutions. They may work for some folks in creating new habits or shedding old ones people no longer desire but generally, there’s something a bit cliched about them that just doesn’t work for me.
What does work for me though is learning. I love it. Do it ALL the time. Can’t get enough of it. Reading, conferences, social media posts, YouTube clips; TED talks; bit more reading and so on.
Yet we know in a hyper-busy, noisy world, learning isn’t always top of the to-do list: In fact, it’s often sacrificed for delivery, doing and catching up; meetings, chats and conference calls. So how do we make sure we stick to our guns and learn our way into success with our work?
We make a resolution which says “read a book a week” or watch 2 TED talks a day but is that enough? It may be for a while.
Jane Hart excellently called out Continuing Professional Development in a blog post recently (see http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2016/01/10/2016-rethinking-continuous-professional-development-cpd/) and in that post, Jane called out the virtues of CPD but also their intermittent nature. We snatch, grab and steal if we can and often we have a convulsive reaction to not having done enough CPD so we force a little learning in. Whilst this is better than none at all, it feels a little wrong. That learning is just another chore and activity to squeeze into the schedule.
It takes a resolute approach to learn, continually and with energy and verve yet the potential rewards are huge.
How do we normalise or habitualise our learning to make this a key part of our resolute selves?
I think the answer comes in knowing and following your own energy flow and curiosity. And having a great network of people who can signpost, suggest and share great content online and in person-to-person chats.
We may think that 40-minute coffee chat with a connection of ours is 40 minutes off line and not doing productive work. Yet what if that person is a really informed and generous soul who knows loads of things you don’t? That they can help you by identifying the latest research, case studies and writing work around a fascinating topic that helps your work with your latest internal or external client? What if that person was able to connect you to someone who has ground-breaking research on a new study programme that is right in the line of sight of a future piece of work your latest client is going to be mad keen on?
Only your curiosity, energy and willingness (or resoluteness) to commit to that discussion will get you 40 minutes of great human contact, sincere catching up and sharing of amazing stuff.
Your resoluteness to scan your social network; to read several pages of that book on your commute instead of playing that colourful game on Facebook will give you that little nugget you can use in your next learning intervention with the support team for the CEO. Maybe you write a blog about the need to use a software methodology in building a learning programme will lead you to an entrepreneur who shares their experiences of using an agile method that you’d never come across before.
So it’s resoluteness over resolutions for me.
Being resolute in your determination to make learning your secret weapon, fuel source and inspiration that may just make this year – and all that follow – a standout year for productivity.
After all, rarely does anyone make a resolution “to be more busy and have less time for things I enjoy”.
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