I remember just yesterday when I graduated college (well, it feels like yesterday even though it's been a few years). I was so excited to be finished with the pressure of school. Next came the CPA exam. I don't even want to mention the pressure and amount of studying it took to pass that exam. So surely I could quit studying and learning once that was completed. Wrong!
Life is about continuously learning and experiencing new things. So why wouldn't you do this in your business too? Learning doesn't have to be defined as "reading a textbook". It could entail watching a Youtube video, listening to a podcast, interviewing a mentor, reading a magazine, or catching up on twitter feeds.
To stretch the concept of continuous learning farther, learning can be through an experience. An experience not even related to your industry. I would say that observation is a type of learning. Have you ever noticed the way you're treated when you go to the local big box store? The greeter doesn't greet you, no one knows where things are, and the cashier's only words to you is the total you owe. Compare that to a store like Publix. If you get within 10 feet of anyone who works there they will ask you how's your day and if they can help you with anything. They will give you free food if they make a mistake and charge you the wrong price, and the bag boys don't give you evil looks when you need help out. Can you learn anything from this to apply to your business? Absolutely! You just need to be observant.
How Am I Continuously Learning New Things?
- Twitter - I follow other CPA's, industry thought leaders, and people I want to grow up to be like. I want to read and share the same articles and stories they are reading and discussing
- TED Talks - A wonderful site to hear amazing public speakers. These speakers will motivate, inspire, and educate you. One of my favorites would be Simon Sinek's talk about "Start With Why". If you're a business owner, or want to start a business take the time to watch this.
- Stanford's eCorner- Professors of Stanford interview entrepreneurs to cover all types, topics, and industries. It amazes me that I can experience a part of Stanford through a couple of internet clicks (and not spend a fortune in tuition).
- Books - I'm an avid reader. My goal is to read one business book per month. I keep a running list of books that I want to eventually read. I get ideas from friends, newspapers, online recommendations, etc. I even have a subscription to Audible, where I can listen to a book instead of read it. This is wonderful for long trips, waiting in traffic, and sweating it on the treadmill.
- Podcasts - Great way to listen to interesting topics. My podcast list includes other CPA's, authors from books I enjoyed, and industry thought leaders. Also happens to be another great way to help me stay on the treadmill.
I could go on and on about other ways to learn and grow yourself or your business because the opportunities are endless. The important thing is that you intentionally do something to grow yourself. Your business will reap the rewards. How you do that is up to you!