I’m proud to call myself a life long learner. In the past I’ve had colleagues ask me why I’m interested in so many different areas of study, why I always seem so interested in discovering new things about myself.
That second question is an easy one to answer. As a consultant and advisor I am the instrument of learning and change with which my clients interact. I consider role modeling when building engaged organizations to be essential. Think about it. How can I ask workers to do anything that I have not done myself? People tend to take stock more in a person’s behavior than in what they say. If the two are incongruous a red flag is likely to be raised, and an unexplained sense of caution could very well prevail.
What do you think? Are you open to learning at this stage of the game? I hope your answer is yes. It’s important to keep an open mind—even when you think you know all there is on a particular subject, or what a person means when they make a statement or comment.
Let’s look at a quick example. What if your colleague remarks to you about a particular issue on a project you both are working? And what if you think you know what s/he means but in reality you’re not entirely certain? It’s prudent to paraphrase or simply ask to be sure your assumption is correct. I’ve been teaching this basic of all communication skills for more than 25 years now, and I am still fascinated how infrequently people do this.
Here is a challenge for you to consider. Make an agreement with yourself to learn something new each day. It could be as simple as learning a new word, its definition and using it in a sentence each day. Another suggestion is to read an article or chapter in a book each day. Others of you might pair up with co-workers at break or lunchtime to have a conversation about innovations in your workplace or what can be done to improve work conditions.
Your own time, work and focus are important, but so too is learning. We should all make even a small amount of time to learn. During these dog days of August I ask you to open yourself to learning. I promise, this will improve your work as well as your life overall.
Have any of my comments evoked something in you? What is your thinking on this topic? Sharing your reflections helps all of us to grow and expand our thinking.
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Scatter joy, and be kind to others particularly at work,