Keep On Learning. It’s the Way to Success.

Today marks an anniversary of sorts.  This is the 400th post I’ve done on the topic of career and life success.  I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. 

Today is Wednesday, so this post is on outstanding performance.

It’s April.  We’re into the second quarter of 2008.  I hope you have written goals and milestones and have accomplished your first quarter milestones.

As you know, outstanding performers have three things in common.  1) They are lifelong learners.  2) They set and achieve high goals.  3) They are well organized.  Today, I’d like to focus on lifelong learning.

The other day, I was walking through Denver International Airport and I saw an ad for the Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver.  It said, “In five years, business will be dependent on technology that has yet to be invented: Frightening, or Inspiring?”  That got me thinking about how the half life of knowledge, not just technology, is getting shorter all the time. 

This means that in order to continue to stay technically competent, you have to be learning all the time.  In past posts, I have mentioned that this is an exciting time for me, as I am learning a lot about web 2.0 and internet marketing.  However, I’m keeping up with the advances in my traditional areas of expertise – coaching, speaking, training — as well.

The web makes continuing education accessible.  If you want to learn about something, just Google it and there you are!  In fact, you might end up with an overabundance of information.  Nevertheless, it is a great place to start.  Sites like www.SuccessTelevision.com are great for career development learning.  My Venture Pad (www.myventurepad.com) is a great place for learning how to run a small business.

Blogs are another great way to keep on learning.  I read several blogs every day.  I have learned a lot from all of them.  I also subscribe to several on line newsletters.  I save them in a separate folder and read them when I am traveling.  Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Caffeine (www.gitomer.com) newsletter is written for sales people, but anyone can benefit.

Books – like my new one, “Straight Talk for Success” (couldn’t help but engage in a little shameless self promotion there) are another great way to keep on learning.  I have set a goal of reading all of the classics success books listed in the premier issue of the recently relaunched SUCCESS Magazine.  I’ve offered to set up a virtual book club with me as the facilitator if I can get at least five people interested.  So far, one person has indicated his willingness to participate.  Please leave a comment on this post if this interests you.

Seminars and workshops are another great way to keep learning.  I am doing a talk at a Productivity Inc. conference in May.  My subject is culture change and continuous improvement.  If you are interested in something like this, e mail me and I will give you the details.

Professional organizations are another great way to keep learning and growing.  In January, I did a talk at the Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s annual meeting.  While I was there, I also did a talk for the Women’s Board of the Automotive Aftermarket Association.   My talks were on customer service and career development, but most of the sessions were dedicated to technical information. 

If you want to learn and grow, join one of the professional societies in your field of expertise.  Get involved.  Don’t just be a passive participant.  Teach something.  You never learn anything really well, until you are able to teach it to another person.

Finally, you can go back to school.  It’s easier than ever these days.  If you can’t make regular day or evening classed, almost every two and four year institution has an online option.  You can finish that undergraduate or graduate degree if you are motivated to do so.

The common sense point here is simple.  If you want to become and remain an outstanding performer, you have to be technically competent in your field.  The half life of knowledge is diminishing rapidly.  You need to put in time and effort to remain technically competent.  You can learn by reading books, blogs and online newsletters.  You can learn by joining and participating in professional societies.  You can learn by going back to school.  How you do it is up to you, but like the Nike ads say, “Just Do It.”

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.” 

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Bud

PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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