At the Table with Jen

Learning and Leading

So let's talk about continual learning, and specifically when you've invested money or time or both to advance or strengthen your skills as a leader. 

Perhaps it's a small investment relatively speaking like reading or listening to a book. Maybe it's a course or seminar you attended, or training your company has sent you to for the day.  Or perhaps it's working with a coach or consultant. And even it didn't cost you money, it was your time spent there, including the time spent creating the space to go and getting caught up again (or close to it) once you returned.

When you first went through the course, the seminar, or even worked with your coach, you probably took some notes as a way to help you process what you're learning. Once the course, seminar or coaching sessions are finished, you have every intention of fully implementing what you've learned.

Then more time passes, and although you know you learned a lot, you might feel like you should have learned more or that you’re not as far as long as you had hoped as a result of signing up in the first place. You might feel like you've slipped back to the beginning because you don't feel like you made any progress.

When that happens, take a moment to recognize that you are further along on your leadership journey.

You know a lot more now than you did when you first signed up. Beating yourself up won’t do any good. Instead, take this as a nudge to revisit those courses, programs, and notes. You are sure to find some new nuggets to try.

It’s kinda like working on a puzzle.

You’ve got all the pieces spread out and facing up so you can see what you’re working with, but you don’t know where every single piece is gonna go until you are closer to the finished product. So you take a first pass and do the best with that, then probably a take a break. After that, you take a second and a third pass until all the pieces are put in their spots.

Think of these resources that you are using to develop your leadership skills as having multiple puzzle pieces.

  • The first pass was the first time you took the course, read the book or worked with the coach
  • The second pass is going back through all the material after some time has passed to find new nuggets
  • And as you find these new nuggets, you might find yourself reworking a section to deepen your understanding

Wherever you are on your journey, take a few minutes and make a list of all the resources you’ve used to develop yourself and when you last worked with them. Then look out six or so months and schedule some time to review the material again and repeat the process. As you move forward, you’ll be able to determine which resources require more frequent reviews and which ones don’t.

Your running list will help you see all that you’ve done to invest in yourself as well as make the most of each endeavor, not to mention help you see new opportunities by identifying gaps to close. It will also help you to make sure you are fully leveraging all of your resources before spending time and money on something else that may or may not help.

Be in the pond!

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