It’s back to school time and even though I haven’t been in an official classroom in many years, I consider myself a life-long learner. One of my top core values is learning and personal growth. I find that many of the creative souls and entrepreneurs I work with value learning as well. Investing in your own personal and professional development helps you stay creatively stimulated, hone your craft, and enhance your business.
In a sea of information it can feel overwhelming to know what subject or what resource to dive into. Sometimes us life-long learners trick ourselves in thinking we need to go for that next certification, Masters, or PhD to truly know our stuff when all we really need to do is be creative and develop our own personal curriculum.
Mix and match resources that work for you and design your own learning plan. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
Make a list of the topics you want to learn more about. What are you curious about? What do you need to know more about to grow your business - marketing, finances, social media, hiring a team, or maybe product development? And hey, what would simply tickle your creative fancy?
Be clear on your desired outcome. Do you want to be an expert? Are you just broadening your horizons? Do you need to learn a specific skill to do better on the job or to grow your business?
Take into account how you learn. Are you an experiential learner? Do you do better with visuals or audio? Do you prefer an intensive program where you can stack everything back to back and get it done quickly or do you like to have things spread out so you have time to absorb? Would you prefer to learn solo at your own pace or together in a community? Is there a particular teacher who you resonate with?
Decide on how much you’re willing to invest. Focusing on your education means dedicating some level of time and money. Would you rather find free content online that you skim through 30 minutes each day? Or are you so super serious about building this skill that you’re willing to put down several thousand dollars for an intensive program?
Develop a timeline. Most likely you won’t be able to tackle all of the topics at once, so prioritize which ones would serve you best now. What are you 3-month, 6-month, 1-year, and 5-year personal curriculum plans?
Research options, identify your top choices, and take action. Based on your desired outcome, learning style, investment level, and timeline look into the different ways you could brush up on the topic(s). Maybe reading a book from the library will do. Or you can take an e-course, attend a seminar, or register for a teacher training or certification program, or hire a coach or mentor. Pick one or two resources and take action – sign-up, show up, do the work.
Find a study buddy. When my husband is learning a new programming language, he does video chat sessions with another coder and they program and problem-solve together. Carving out the time and having accountability with another person can accelerate your comprehension.
Apply what you’re learning. Don’t feel like you need to take every single class on the subject before you can actually do the work. Start using your newfound knowledge and skills now. In fact, you’ll most likely get better with practice, so practice away.