Like many parents over the past few weeks, I’ve gone through the yearly ritual of getting my two sons back to school. They always have mixed feelings about the start of the new school year, as there’s the sadness of another summer ending, but the excitement of starting and learning something new.
It’s seems everything at this time of year is about something new. New notebooks, and writing implements- New books and instructional guides- New computers and internet devices- All these new items with one big purpose. Create the opportunity for them to learn something valuable- something they can use- something that will enhance their lives for the better. How can one not be excited about that?
A few days into the school year, my boys and I like to talk about their new teachers, and about the classes they are most excited to attend. This conversation never seems to get old. It’s something about the feeling and emotion in their voices conveying the sense of wonder that accompanies learning about something new or something old in a new way. The idea that anything is possible, and limitless options await them on the other side of the learning opportunity.
It’s here I’m reminded about the enormous value of a classroom teacher and how in a matter of minutes they have the ability to excite and engage any young learner in their topic, or completely turn them off to that same topic. It also causes me to think about those teachers in my life that made the biggest impact on me and created those amazing moments and learning opportunities that have lasted over my lifetime.
Inevitably our conversations will also revolve around those teachers that they are not all that excited about spending their time with, and the topics that do not stimulate that same sense of wonder. It’s here that I challenge them to find the learning opportunity as well.
Any teacher they don’t connect with easily obviously has a type of personality that they are not comfortable dealing with. Life has a funny way of putting these types of people front and center over and over again until we figure out how we are going to co-exist with these types of individuals. We won’t always connect easily with our co-workers, supervisors, and those in our lives so as frustrating as it is, my boys get to practice how to deal with these types of personalities. The other option is they can choose to allow this type of personality to constantly be the barrier that causes them to be unsuccessful.
And of course not everything we get to do on a daily basis both inside and outside the workplace is going to be our most favorite tasks and topics. Yet again, we get to find ways to build excitement around those seemingly mundane tasks and assignments because ultimately it’s usually those things that we don’t love that can allow us to do those things we do love at a much higher level. Even more important we get to learn that there are certain skills we do not possess, and certain tasks that we are not suited for or simply do not have a passion.
The process of eliminating what we don’t love doing is part of the process of enlightening us to what we do love, and that is certainly a lesson worth learning as early in life as possible.
As I watch my two sons embark on another year of learning, I can’t help but ask myself what I’m planning to do in the coming months to spark my own learning. What new thoughts and ideas and I willing to dive into, and most importantly how do I plan to apply what I’ve learned into my daily experience. After all- learning is part of my brand and my core values and since our teams and those around us will usually do as we do and not as we say- it’s time to get my learning on!
Ask yourself this week:
What are you doing to learn something new?
How are you planning to implement the new into your business and into your life?
Where have you lost the sense of wonder and excitement that comes with learning something new?
How are you planning to get it back?
Life-long learning is no longer an option if you plan to stay relevant in the modern workplace- so crack open a book, subscribe to a podcast, cue up a TED Talk and get back to school my friends.
The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice. – Brian Herbert
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. -Benjamin Franklin
Learning never exhausts the mind. –Leonardo da Vinci
The expert in anything was once a beginner. –Unknown
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. –Unknown
Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself. –Paulo Coelho
When one teaches, two learn. –Robert Heinlein
Looking forward to our next connection