On Continuous Learning

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my life was a saying that came from my beloved grandfather.

“Connie, you may lose your friends, you may lose your money, you may lose your home…but the one thing that no one can ever take away from you is your education.”

That insightful gift always hovers in the back of my head when experiencing the ebbs and flows of life. No matter what situation I find myself in, there is a solid sense or knowing that because of my excellent education and thirst for learning, I remain curious, interested, and even resourceful – especially during the tough times.

I strongly believe that life is about developing options. But it’s hard to develop options if you are unaware of the choices which are available to you. That’s where continuous learning comes in.

Creating Inspiration

Continuous learning creates inspiration.   Continuous learning has been defined by Carter McNamara as:

“Simply put, continuous learning is the ability to learn to learn. It’s about developing skills in reflection and inquiry.  It’s about learning how to learn so that your life’s experiences become your own learning lab.”

To me, learning does not have to come packaged in the form of a classroom setting. Continuous learning can be as simple as listening to NPR and reading business books to taking online courses or doing independent research. And continuous learning doesn’t only apply to business or career. I try new things all the time that help me become a more well-rounded individual, from learning how to play the guitar to watching cooking shows to reading up on rock-climbing because it’s on my bucket list.

The bottom line is that these learning exercises expose me to new ideas that may have never crossed my mind otherwise. This exposure to valuable information means I can make informed decisions based on a wide range of options.  And those informed decisions usually lead to new opportunities.

This long-held belief of continuous learning has been magnetized as I’ve worked hard to build Sharing Profiles from scratch.

There have been many times when my knowledge-backed resourcefulness has saved the day. As a bootstrapper, it’s important to watch every penny, and that attention to detail has led to better negotiations. I’ve saved money in advertising deals. I’ve developed trade partnerships that increase exposure. I’ve had to do whatever it takes at times to keep the business alive.

Take this WordPress site as an example. Although it’s been nice reviewing my history and being reminded how far I’ve come, the real reason for writing this blog has to do with my desire to learn a new skill and create an advantage. This undertaking has several positive side effects:

  1. I’m using Lynda.com for the first time, and love the online learning courses.
  2. I’m adding another service to my arsenal as a marketing consultant which can help generate revenue until Sharing Profiles takes off.
  3. I’m proving to myself I can create a website from scratch, quickly and without outside resources (people or money). I’m learning how to prototype my own ideas.
  4. I’m developing an online personality for potential fundraising efforts.
  5. I’m honing my writing skills.

Everyone is strapped for time these days; I‘m certainly no exception. Being an entrepreneur, I stare down a clock or two each and every day. Yet, I know that without a doubt, I must continue to stay current if I’m going to be successful. I must include learning in my daily to-do’s. It’s a rule of mine. I have always loved learning new things, and this breadth and depth of knowledge has helped me tremendously over the years.

Life is all about developing options, and continuous learning is a key ingredient in doing just that.

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