Normally, I use this space to talk about tech issues. In a way, I will use this post to do that yet more than anything else, I am going to use this space to talk about the reality of continuing to learn in a professional setting. More specifically, I am going to use this space to talk about the importance of continued education in a professional/personal setting and some of the interactive tech tools – Learning Labs – InformIT offers to help you to continue to learn. I promise you, you’ll love Learning Labs.
In a previous life, I worked for a Cloud Hosting firm. Although I was brought on to oversee the digital marketing efforts of the firm, I was quickly thrown into the deep end in terms of learning Linux administration, command line procedures and overall web dev programming languages.
In jest, when I took the role all I knew of coding was a simple <p> tag along with Neo hacking into the mainframe of The Matrix. I never intended to learn HTML, CSS, Java and Ruby. Yet, as I sit here today high above lower Manhattan, I am glad to say I am well versed in HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby and can take control of a Linux web server via the command line.
Professional learning isn’t like academic learning. It just isn’t. In an academic setting, you are there to learn. Your main objective is to take what the professor is saying, mash it together with the course text book, contemplate it in your mind and make sense of it on paper. You’re in school to learn. You’re in the professional setting to make money, make connections, hit deadlines and hit year end goals. The company you work for hired you in an effort to meet one or a few of their deadlines/year end goals. They didn’t hire you to take a test at the end of each lesson.
But don’t let this fool you. You might be on the hook to make money for your company (you are) but you are also on the hook with bringing new talent, ideas and skills to the table in an effort to push the business portfolio of your company forward. This requires learning. It requires thinking. It requires marrying professional need with academic mental resources. Above anything, it requires the understanding that to succeed in a professional setting, you never take off your learning cap.
Everyone has seen this somewhere:
Personally, I think it’s nonsense. We get older. We gain responsibility. As we age, it feels like it becomes harder and harder to focus on individual goals and sock away personal time to improve I. Yet, like time, your professional life waits for no man. At work you have two choices: continue to learn, progress and better yourself or get out. We all have a lot of things to do and yet, at the end of the day, to progress personally and professionally, you need to continue to work on yourself. You can never lose sight of I if you plan on going anywhere in life.
Growing up isn't a trap. Growing up is an opportunity to see what you’re made of. Growing up is an opportunity to continue to learn as much as you can, to work hard and to make the lives of those around you better by not being afraid to enrich your own life. To quote from Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
You continue learning because it allows others to do the same. Your continued education allows others to work harder, to increase their skill set and to make their coworkers and organization better.
Getting older isn't a trap. It’s an opportunity/swift kick in the ass to bring good into the world.
For as long as I can remember, I have been involved in physical structures. Be it playing various sports, running miles, working out in a gym or taking part in long distance obstacle racing, physicality has always been a part of my life. My physical life has given meaning to my intellectual, personal and professional life. My physical life has informed the essence of who I am.
All too often people equate learning new skills, sharing your insights, growing as a person and making yourself better with being hard. It isn’t.
Learning new skills takes time and repetition.
Sharing who you are takes persistence and courage.
Growing as a person takes patience and want.
Making yourself better requires mental and physical strength.
But are they hard? If competing in Spartan races has taught me anything it’s this: if you want something bad enough, you’re going to do it. Competing in a Spartan race is about determination, strength and stamina. Is it hard? At first, sure. But the moment you decide you’re going to do something, it isn’t hard anymore. It’s just another part of your life which you have chosen to take control of.
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