The one constant in today’s world is change. Change is so rapid that as a business owner, investing in your knowledge is no longer a nice to do, it’s a necessary requirement if you want long-term success.
Even though I am a high school drop out, I am an avid learner. When I learn new things I feel motivated, inspired and way more confident in myself and my abilities. You could say learning is addictive.
When you finish your formal education, often you go work for a company and if you’re lucky that company has continuous professional education you can adopt as part of your career path but when you choose the path of entrepreneur, there is no in-house training, no college tribe to surround you and often it can feel super lonely and depressing.
For those reasons, you have to take learning seriously.
There are five ways you can do that:
1. Find a mentor
Finding a mentor can be challenging. The first time I asked someone to mentor me, they said no. They told me that they didn’t think they had anything to give me. I could have taken that as really meaning no but instead for a number of years, I invited them out to lunch a couple times a year and I got the mentorship I was looking for.
Later in life, I reached out to a retired executive I know and asked him to mentor me. Turns out retirement was a bit boring so he did agree to take me on and offer as much guidance as he could. The interesting thing is he gave me a piece of advice a few years ago that I am only getting to now in my business. His wisdom was more profound than I realized at the time. When you find a mentor, be a better mentee than I was an listen to your mentor, and actively invest in the relationship. Most mentorships are free so it’s important to do the work and demonstrate a high degree of gratitude towards the person helping you.
2. Hire a coach
Coaches are a dime a dozen today so before you go out and hire one, you need to get clear on what you want. Do you want a celebrity style coach with a huge following where you get very little access? Do you want a coach who has a massive group program or something smaller and more boutique feeling like Profit Pods? Or do you want a coach who is responsive and has tons of experience in the area you want to excel in or do you want a coach who is certified? Before you invest in a coach it’s a good idea to get clear on what you want and then have a conversation to find out if they are able to meet those needs. Most coaching relationships go sideways because the intentions were not clearly defined at the start.
3. Read books
Books have been such a huge part of my growth and development. I am an avid learner and an avid reader. The problem with books is most people are one and one when it comes to reading. They skim their books, they don’t finish what they started, they don’t take notes and they rarely implement any actions from what they have learned. When I started Thought Readers, I wanted to share my exact habits for using reading as a tool to build my business. You can learn almost anything from reading and when you use books to guide your knowledge and drive your actions, that’s where the magic occurs. I say read a book every two weeks, and at minimum one a month. If you want to read with me, join Thought Readers.5 Ways to become a lifelong student. #Entrepreneurship Click To Tweet
4. Enroll in training programs
You can take courses at community colleges or enroll in online training. Today there is no shortage of training program opportunities. Many come with big-ticket price points and end up being fondly called “shelf help” though because people rarely finish the program. I’ve invested in tons of programs, some of the most powerful growth in my business has come from enhancing my skills in training programs. If you don’t have time to do a long-term training program, consider going to an event like Money, Mindset and Marketing or a workshop to deepen and further your learning.
5. Create a mastermind group
The final way you can learn is through a peer group. Today many people join or start mastermind groups as a way of learning. Most masterminds are really peer sharing and learning and not true masterminding but either way, there is huge value in learning from peers. You are the average of the 5 people you associate with the most so if you want to up-level your thinking, surround yourself with smart people and talk business with them. You’ll learn tons from the experiences other people have had. Be sure to ask questions such as “tell me what you’ve done that worked for this problem” versus “tell me what you would do.” Tell me what you would do is hypothetical and not nearly as valuable as what someone has done.
Your learning is in direct proportion to the growth of your business. Your business can’t outgrow what you know, only you can make that happen.
How do you encourage learning in your life? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.