Learn Something New
It may be no surprise that six of the top ten most popular New Year’s resolutions revolve around health and fitness, according to federal research. However, also included on the list is the resolution to get a better education. While most might think of that as pursuing a college degree, getting educated can simply mean you commit to learn something new related to your career. As a leader, tackling something that will result in professional growth is a great goal to set for the start of every year. How do you decide what to do? Evaluate opportunities you’ve put off for whatever reason and determine the Vital One on your list. The “Vital One” gives you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of self-development, growth and personal rewards. It could be taking on a work assignment in which you have little experience but that provides you with greater visibility within your organization. Or, it might be embracing a new commitment outside your organization that will give you a broader set of experiences for future professional endeavors. Once you identify what you want to learn, develop a specific action plan to take on the challenge and hold yourself accountable to make sure you make it happen.
Here are three undeniable benefits to learning something new:
Learning something new boosts self-confidence. As a leader, the more you know, the more well-rounded you will be and the more comfortable you’ll feel facing a variety of situations and scenarios in your professional career. Not only will you feel comfortable, but you’ll also be more capable of contributing, offering meaningful suggestions or solutions in a way that you never could in years past. Technology leaders provide a perfect metaphor for us all: They have to have incredible self-initiative and drive, particularly when it comes to constantly learning what’s new and pushing their comfort zones to stay creative and on the cutting edge of their industry. If they fall behind, so, too, do their abilities — and their self-esteem and careers can easily tank if they fail at the endeavor to learn what’s new.
Learning something new leads to career advancement. Other people will notice when you’ve succeeded at learning something new. And most of them will even notice when you’re just trying to learn something new, taking note that you’re assertive about your professional growth and therefore different from the masses of other professionals who fail to discipline themselves in this empowering way. Eventually, this awareness of behalf of others will pay off — perhaps you’ll land a breakthrough client in a field, someone who never gave you much notice until you took that self-initiative to become smarter or more skilled at something specific and relevant to that person. It may land you a better position within your current company or a more challenging, exciting opportunity outside it. Maybe it will pan out in the form of greater financial rewards, a payback that can be particularly helpful if you’ve personally invested hard-earned dollars into your self-improvement goal. How the advancement will pan out might not seem clear or be immediate, but trust in the fact that it will present itself to you for your disciplined deeds well done.
Learning something new is fun! If you make the conscientious choice to view your self-improvement — even the professional kind — in a lighthearted, positive way, you can actually enjoy whatever it is you’ve decided to learn. Approach whatever goal you’ve set with a positive attitude that’s backed by a heart of gratitude, and your perception about the goal and the journey will simply feel exciting, easier and less like work, and more like fun. View this commitment as something you WANT to do, not something you HAVE to do, thinking of it in terms of exploring new horizons, creating new relationships, pushing exciting personal boundaries, etc. When you set a goal to learn something new, actively plan for the means to make the experience fun. One great example is a lady who decided to learn guitar. Instead of taking traditional weekly lessons, she brought together friends who all wanted to learn some instrument. Everyone gathered at her house weekly and just sort of figured it out by creating a band and teaching one another through a variety of self-instructional techniques. The experience didn’t just provide a unique methodology for learning but fostered social interaction, great opportunities for self-empowerment and tangible results. It also provided a lot of great laughs (endorphins!) in the trial and error of creatively working together as a team and with such a fresh, yet fearless goal. Bottom line, there are so many things in life that aren’t fun that you must do — if you’re going to take on something new with your professional development, choosing to make the learning fun will make whatever it is more attractive and certainly more doable, too. In turn, that will make you more successful!
How have you put a fresh twist to learning (and succeeding) at something new in your career?