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Lifelong Learning: The Key to Success on Your Leadership Journey

September 16, 2021
Dr. Chris Auger

I cannot remember a time in life when I wasn’t learning or seeking more knowledge for the challenges in front of me. Whether it was during my time in the SEAL Teams, the pursuit of formal education, technical computer certifications, better public speaking, or becoming a more effective leader and team performance coach. Recently, I explored attending toastmasters to learn how to become a more effective public speaker. As a WinShape Teams coach, I am currently enrolled in a certification program that will lead to a Professional Certified Coach certification through the International Coach Federation. It combines online courses, with readings, exams, and observational assessments. 

  • What is it about learning that drives me to constantly seek more? A mindset for more knowledge I can apply and turn into wisdom to share!
  • Couldn’t I just rest? Not in my nature and life is still happening!
  • Isn’t formal education enough? No way, change is constant, and I can prepare for the next leg of the journey.
  • Is it worth the time? Absolutely! 100%!

The idea of having a mindset for lifelong learning can be overwhelming for some. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be. A few simple micro-adjustments can result in some huge gains in knowledge and exposure to new information.

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Three key things to remember when embarking on an effort to adopt a mindset for lifelong learning is to make it fun, commit to doing it, and be intentional. Too often, people will rush to failure by creating a plan that is too complicated, time-consuming, and burdensome. The goal is not to lose sight of the long-term impact of learning and to capitalize on the short-term benefits of being intentional about learning. 

Make it Fun

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”  – Alfred Mercier 

The technology-rich environments open a whole new world and untapped potential for lifelong learning. Traditionally, lifelong learning meant formal education. The internet has reinvented what it means to be a lifelong learner. The glorious aspect of having a mindset for lifelong learning is we get to be the tour guide and go where we want to go. The internet offers the unique opportunity to tailor your journey of lifelong learning that brings joy, fun, and excitement.

There are many blogs on the amazing technologies that someone can experience learning from virtual reality, YouTube videos, Ted Talks, articles, etc. The new tech taps into the many ways people learn. You are encouraged to explore and experiment often to find what helps you to learn most effectively. Add this to in-person experiences and more traditional ways of learning and a new level of fun and excitement for more learning is created. Mixing up the ways in which we learn keeps it fresh and shifts lifelong learning from a “have to” chore to a “get to” mindset.  When we get to do something, we tend to enjoy it more and continue doing it.

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Invest in the Commodity of Time

“No amount of money ever bought a second of time” – Tony Stark in Avengers End Game

Once time is spent, it is gone forever. The challenge is to make the time we spend more impactful. How many of us get that usage report on our phone telling us how much time we spent on social apps? How many of us think we can spend our time better?

There are simple ways to invest time to learn. I have had friends that block off the first hour of their morning for reading. They read all kinds of material that are historical, work-related, fiction, and practical. Bill Hart is an executive coach for Market Mortgage with over 18k hours of coaching under his belt and does a great job explaining how to invest 20 minutes a day reading the average leadership or self-help book. In 20 days, the average person can read the average book and over the course of a year read 18 in total. Think about the amount of knowledge that entails. Reading is a great way to use a small amount of time to downshift prior to going to sleep and getting away from the blue light that electronic devices emit.

  • How might you look at your weekly calendar and place investment windows throughout the week where you are challenged to learn?
  • Could you join a reading challenge with a friend?
  • What course would you want to take that interests you?
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Be Intentional

“It’s not enough to be busy; So are the Ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

Time has a way of escaping us if we are not intentional and purposeful in how we spend it. While some learning opportunities happen by chance, most happen with more intentionality. The internet has made adopting a mindset of lifelong learning more available to everyone. The challenge becomes what to focus on. Mix it up. Seek to learn to develop work competencies, parenting skills, hobbies, or other interests.

I love to cook and watch many videos on how to cook healthy meals I can share with others. As a new grandfather, I am in the throes of learning all about Baby Led Weaning so I can support my daughter and my granddaughter. The world does not stand still; change is constantly happening. How are you investing intentional time to learn so you can engage more effectively?

Lifelong learning can be intentional towards a particular purpose like a degree or a certification, but it can also be just because. Unique learning opportunities are how we expand our creativity, innovation, and critical thinking skills.  Think of something you have never done but would like to. How would you go about learning to do it? 

Lifelong learning is a journey you get to put together while making memories and sharing knowledge along the way.

The Journey Ahead

Sometimes we get to ask for help on our lifelong learning journeys. Let WinShape Teams help you with that. WinShape Teams Coaching is a unique opportunity to meet yourself in a way you haven’t met yourself before and an excellent way to move towards your next horizon on your journey to significance!

Work with a coach to grow as a lifelong learner.

Embark on a powerful journey of self-discovery that leads to lasting personal and professional growth by leveraging tools to create a development plan that is personalized to your goals.