Chamber Blog

Have I Learned Something New Today?

November 21, 2018 

John Jennings, President, Inspired Business Concept, Inc.

FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training

A great way for you to continue to grow is to ask yourself, “have I learned something new today?”.  I was reminded of this recently as I was preparing for some of our great FocalPoint training.  There was a self-assessment phase of this course which asked us to identify the different ways we continue to learn.  And recently I read a blog about the importance of migrating from a know-it-all mindset to a learn-it-all mindset.  That’s rich.  That’s some sound advice.

The Need for Learning Every Day

Having a goal of learning something new every day is a great way to lead yourself into a learn-it-all mindset.  Learning something new every day develops several traits for good leaders.  It helps them be more forward-thinking, it helps you learn more about yourself, and it makes you more humble.

Leaders need to be forward-thinking.  One of the most important roles of a leader is to be the strategic leader of their organization.  Whether that is a Fortune 500 Corporation, a small privately-held business, or a team of individual contributors within a broader organization, it is critical for the leader of the team to have clarity of vision and drive the team toward positive results.  By continuing to learn each day, leaders uncover new ideas to bring to their team.  They demonstrate an openness to new ideas.  And they demonstrate to the team that they must always be growing and challenging the status quo.

When you learn, you don’t just learn about your business, you often learn about yourself.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been listening to a podcast and felt like the speaker was talking right to me.  If we are open to improving ourselves, we will listen to the message with an open heart and open mind. Only then can we truly apply it to our lives and grow as individuals and leaders.

Finally, learning makes you humble.  I don’t know about you, but when I was 25 I knew everything.  Now that I’m in my 50s, I realize that I have so much more to learn.  I learn something new every day.  Every day I find a quote, a thought, an idea, a new method of doing something.  Learning these things make me a better person, a better resource to my clients, a better coach and trainer, a better father, a better husband, and a better person.  Recognizing that you can still “be better”, is what humility is all about.  Until you realize that you have room for growth, you cannot truly be humble.

Methods for ongoing learning

There are several methods for ongoing personal development. Personally, I focus on the following methods:

  • Reading – I am constantly reading.  I normally have 2 or 3 books going at a time.  The reason I have more than one at a time is that I am in the mood for different topics at different times.  Typically, I have one that is spiritual in nature, one that is motivational or encouraging in nature, and a third that has a business or leadership focus.  My goal this year was to read 36 books, and I have already surpassed that goal.
  • Podcasts – I spend as much as an hour or more per day riding around in my car between appointments.  I listen to podcasts during much of this time.  At FocalPoint we say “drive time = learning time”. My goal is to listen to at least two hours of podcasts each week.  I listen to podcasts at 1 1/2 speed, so that’s the equivalent of three hours of content.  I generally listen to podcasts on leadership, coaching, servant leadership and Christian/church leadership.
  • Workshops – I attend at least two workshops per month.  I am involved with chambers of commerce and other professional organizations.  These groups offer workshops and seminars on a variety of topics.  These workshops are great refreshers and are also great opportunities for me to network with other business leaders in my community.
  • Trusted Advisor(s) – I have trusted advisors that I go to when I want to learn something new, gain an outside perspective, or just get input on an idea or thought.  My trusted advisors come from a variety of backgrounds.  One is my business coach (yes, I have a business coach, too).  Others are leaders in their respective organizations that I hold in high regard.  These are people who will be honest with me and will give me clear and sound advice.

Learning is critical for leading

Author Brad Lomenick, in H3 Leadership, says:

“If you’re not growing, you’re not going.  If you’re not learning, you’re not leading. And while it is great to be interesting, it’s more important to be interested.  Stay curious.”

This is sound advice and some that I truly take to heart.  I hope you will too.