Why is learning important for your business? Here's a guest blog on building a business by growing your own knowledge...
The wisest mind has something yet to learn. - George Santayana
Building a business is like baking a cake you have to have the right ingredients, the correct tools, a method whether detailed or a brief outline and a sense of eagerness for what youre baking. Combine all and voilla un gateau delicieux.
In my previous blog I looked at how passion can be the missing ingredient and can be the deciding factor in whether youre a successful entrepreneur or not. This time Im going to be looking at another important ingredient that I think you need in order to succeed and this is the ability to learn new things.
The wonderful world of business is ever evolving and in my line of work if I didnt have the knowledge of social media, Word Press, Photoshop and some basic understanding of HTML and SEO I would not have a line of work. This is something like it or not Ive had to learn, theres been some really frustrating moments (especially with Photoshop) and many highs. But learning these skills and developing them further has given me a competitive edge. Its easy to become set in your old ways and question why you should have to over load your poor brain with more information; I could have refused and moaned on about how writers should only use quills and paper but then my bank manager wouldnt have been so keen on upping my overdraft nor have the clients I do now.
I do appreciate that not everyone takes well to learning new things, in fact when I used to think of the word learning, Id associate it with the horrible experiences Id had at school and suddenly it would become my way or the high way. A few years on and Ive taken a different attitude. As Ray Leblond says: "You learn something new every day if you pay attention." For example, today I learnt how to make rice and it worked. Ive been making rice for some time now, but its always undercooked, sloppy and generally unpleasant. Today I decided not to conform to Einsteins definition of insanity and therefore did something different. I looked at the cooking instructions and 12 minutes later I had fluffy rice. It wasnt so scary and Id like to think Einstein would be highly amused but somewhat proud.
What kind of learner are you?
Its very important that you find out how you take in information. There are three main representational skills that we use. Whilst most of us tend to use all three, we are led by predominantly one although some do have the natural ability to use all equally.
Visual learners: learn best by watching videos, prefer visual aids such as pictures, flip charts and anything with bright colours on. The more attractive it looks, the more they will take in the information. They use language such as I see what you are saying or I can see where youre coming from.
Audio learners: take in information by sound and theyre not as concerned with how its visually presented; talking books and podcasts are ideal for audio listeners. They use language such as I hear what youre saying or I like the sound of that.
Kinesthetic learners: are known as doers. They like to physically carry out an activity rather than listening or being shown how to; they use language that describes feelings, and textures.
Establishing your representational skill is vital as it will make the learning journey a lot easier for you.
The inner gremlin
Its rather easy to tell yourself that youre stupid or too old to learn new tricks. The real fact is, youre out of your comfort zone and your ego is doing the rumba. Recently I took on a contract which looked easy on paper but the reality was much different. Thankfully I have a fantastic trainer who is patient with me but from time to time I do tell myself that my brains just not wired like it should be. But then I have to remind myself that walking was once like this and its only because Ive been doing it for 21 years that its become second nature.
When learning I perform the following:
Assess how its going to benefit me
Identify my most used representational skill
Practise until it becomes second nature
Reward myself for every new thing I learn
Your business will thank you because?
You will be able to offer your clients new products, services, and skills.
You will remain competitive.
Learning new things opens up the idea flood gates you will be able to expand in ways you never knew possible.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr says: "Mans mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension."
And why would we want it to?
Image by Happy Batatinha on Flickr