Learning Never Stops
Everyone starts as a beginner somewhere. Remember your first week at work? I know I do. I thought I didn’t know anything, and that all I knew that to make it in this job, I needed to learn as fast as possible.
With a beginner’s mindset, I knew that even though I learned a lot in university, I still had a long way to go. At times it even felt like I was literally starting from scratch. Nowadays, I think to myself “why was I ever worried?”. While I still don’t have a lot of knowledge and experience, I definitely know more now than I did before because I was a beginner just like everyone else was.
In your career, you’re either starting out with something new or you may feel like you know everything when it comes to your job already. However, at any stage of your career it is always your choice to become the student.
Fresh Like A Student
Do you remember learning a lot as a student? What actually helped us learn more when we were actual students and not at work yet? It’s the teachers & professors, the pressure of attendance, educational tools & materials, and group interactions. To be able to learn more today, we should rekindle that feeling of learning as a student, but mixing it up with having fun as an adult.
Find A Mentor
We’ve all had mentors. Our teachers gave us exams, tested our learning and saw our growth. At work, it is your supervisor or manager because they most likely have more career and life experience.
Learning from others is one of the easiest ways for us to find out what has been done right, and the opposite. We can identify what type of actions we should take based on other people’s experiences and our perspective on that.
A mentor is someone you can look up to, and is willing to guide you both in work and in life because our behavior and mindset in life is what we apply in the way we work. It is also worth noting that a mentor is not just an inspirational colleague, but is someone who is consciously guiding you towards a better career and life. Someone who wants to see you truly grow instead of put a ceiling on your head is pretty hard to find, but they are out there and it is usually you who needs to make the first step.
Ask someone for guidance or their knowledge on a topic that you are interested in. Share with them your personal experience from your work and ask them if they experienced the same thing in their earlier days. Always start with something like “May I ask for advice?” and always be grateful with a “Thank you for your guidance.”
Just like school, other than getting someone to guide us, a classroom environment at any stage of our career is always welcome.
Yeah, we’ve all had those classes that we really didn’t want to go to, but we had to. We probably didn’t listen to these classes but the times that we did listen, we learned something. There are people who need to attend classes and have to be required to pay attention because they got too distracted. I’m actually exactly like this. If I couldn’t learn something online through reading blog posts or articles, or even watching videos on the topic, I decide to enroll myself in actual classes or online classes.
Taking classes make you more productive in learning because you’re required to do it. You NEED to attend the class to get that certificate of completion. You NEED to take that class to finally learn that skill you’ve always wanted to incorporate into your work. Sometimes, you even just need to take the class because you paid for it and you don’t want to waste your money.
Taking classes is one of the best ways to learn if you’re someone who needs to be pressured to be productive and there’s no shame in that. It’s completely normal. If you’re someone who can learn on your own, remember that reading and watching videos to get the skills and knowledge you want is a form of special class in itself. You’re still collecting information by consuming these educational tools. You still test your newly found skills by applying these to your work as you go along the way. You still feel great once you complete that short course, finish reading that book or watching that video.
A lot of professionals take their master’s degree or doctorate degree later in life. These people have that drive to learn because attaining more credentials, skills, and knowledge will always prove you more valuable.
The pressure to give our full attention, avoiding all distractions is key to a more productive path to learning more. With these classes, we also note the educational materials that are provided.
Back in school, our best moments were having group work and presentations. Collaborating with others is one of the best ways to learn as we all have different skills and levels of experience. Sometimes what you want to learn is something that someone you know can do really well. Asking these people for tips while sharing what you know will give you more opportunities to continue learning from these people and activities since you are also adding value to their life and careers.
Meeting people who want to improve is great since not only can you take classes together, but you can invite each other to read the same book or watch the same educational videos and make progress together in acquiring the skills and knowledge you want.
Pay It Forward
There’s always going to be someone more experienced than you which you can learn from, and by that logic, there’s always going to be someone less experienced that can learn from you.
Remember, a mentorship is a relationship and it works both ways for both the more experienced and the less experienced. You definitely learn a lot from your mentor but never forget to take the opportunity to share something that your mentor can also learn from.
When you learn something, always remember that you have the power to pass on that knowledge to someone else. Teach someone the mistakes you’ve made before so they won’t make the same mistake. Tell them what you’ve learned from certain challenges and how you tackled them successfully. Share with them your newly found skills, and even your source for learning these skills. To share with others your experience and knowledge is the qualities of a true leader.
I took some engineering classes last year to be able to pursue more engineering work this year. I have been practicing web design and animation since the late years of my elementary days. I continue to practice my design skills with all of my forms of work and I continue to watch tutorials, read books, and take classes to further my self development.
In any situation, you can always choose to be the student.
Maintain a relationship with a willing mentor and make sure that person is supportive but still critical and objective regarding your progress. Always learn about other people’s experiences.
Taking classes, reading books, watching tutorials to acquire new skills and more knowledge which will make you more valuable later on.
Having friends who also want to improve and learn is really helpful. Try to join groups that are dedicated to learning certain things you are also interested in.
Remember to share with others what you have learned and be the mentor you’ve always wanted to be.