learning

Professionalism and Learning

Professionalism isn’t about getting paid. It’s about who the work is for, changing things for the better and keeping a promise to show up.

An amateur is building experience, honing the craft…a practicing student. It’s mainly for themselves. Professionalism begins when the choice is made to perform the work for someone else's benefit. And then making a promise to show up with their best work.

Choosing to lead, to manage, to teach someone else as a professional comes with great responsibility. It requires your best performance…every time. It requires vigor but also patience. It requires experience but also empathy. And most of all it requires a dedication to leveling up as a leader…a commitment to keep learning the craft of leadership. And understanding that it’s a lifelong journey.

Choosing to learn might be the professional’s most important decision. Because without it, nothing would change. And that would be a shame.

The Profession of Leveling Up

Almost everyone wants to level up. They want to move forward, raise their status, perhaps earn more money and feel successful. But almost everyone treats leveling up as a hobby…something to squeeze in when time permits. And who can blame them. School taught us to dislike learning (which is required to level up)…mainly because it was mandatory and boring.  And in life after school there’s too much that just gets in the way…jobs, significant others, kids, bosses, mortgages, fun, rest and on and on. As a result, forward progress is significantly slowed, unless it’s something compulsory tied to survival.

The first step then to improve forward motion (if that’s what one seeks) is to recategorize and reprioritize leveling up and the requisite learning that goes with it. It must be changed from a hobby into a profession. This requires discipline and probably some entertainment cutting. But it must be done if any real progress is going to be made. Take running a marathon as an example. A non-runner can’t become a marathon runner (one who completes a marathon) without a disciplined and structured approach to the required training. It just won’t happen if it’s haphazard. So a serious quest results in hiring a coach who demands a schedule so that training is turned into a job. And the job gets done. Or no marathon.

Learning, practicing and training…the things needed to level up need a plan, just like a business needs a plan. Goals need to be set, purpose established (who’s it for?, what’s it for?) strategy and tactics developed. And then we need to clock in, every day, just like we do for our job. We need to develop the habit of learning just like the habit of working…because learning is work.  And we need to treat it like our life depends on it…because it probably does…at least for the life we seek.

Teaching vs. Telling

Teaching moments occur when both the teacher and the student want to go somewhere…together. Students learn more, understand more, contribute more when they want to know…when they seek a higher level of understanding. Teaching moments don’t happen by chance. And they certainly don’t happen for a test. They occur because some teachers understand that leadership and enrollment in an idea are the essential seeds to learning. They know that no true learning can occur without first earning the student’s trust and enthusiasm for the idea. Want to teach someone to build a rocket ship? First step, get them excited about going into outer space. 

Teaching requires leading. And leading requires more than a high level of subject knowledge. It requires the ability to persuade someone to willingly go along with you. Otherwise it’s just telling. And anyone can do that.

So if you choose to teach, please know the hard work on offer. It’s not on the test. But I hope you choose to do it anyway.

Education

...isn’t something that is done to you. It’s something you do for yourself. After about the 8th grade it’s a choice. The only requirements for learning are an open mind and pride…an attitude of improving self worth. That’s why we were all so good at it when we were three. We hadn’t created all of the other barriers yet.

A Learner's Non-Traditional Study Guide

There are many choices when it comes to learning. Whether you're just venturing out or starting over, here's a list you should spend some time on before you decide which path to take...

Books by Seth Godin
Books by Others
Video/Audio
Leap First (audio)
Blogs
Michael Chaffin (of course)
Classes/Courses- Self Learning
Leadership Workshop (Seth Godin)
Specific Ideas/Posts on School
Stop Stealing Dreams (TedEx video)

 

(Thanks Haley for the inspiration to share it)

Happy New Year...Now Go Learn

In the course of my work I'm often asked what sort of education is best which is usually a clever disguise for wanting to know if a college degree is worth pursuing. Well, that's really hard to say. An institutional product like college education is just like any other thing or service we buy. It has varying levels of value depending on your goals, values and world view. There is no one answer that fits everyone. I know that's the system we've been taught (or conditioned or even bullied) to believe in. But it simply isn't that simple...anymore. We grew up believing that if we had the money or could borrow it we should (must) get a college education because it would open the doors to opportunities (higher paying jobs) we would otherwise not be in a position to secure. Well now that model is being blown to bits because learning and the product of knowledge have been completely redefined. In the matter of just a decade what you once had to go to a classroom in a famous college to consume...you can do so from your house anytime you want. In that same amount of time, the job of teaching has gone from a privileged minority (those that went to college) to virtually anyone who takes the time to do so.

So the point on this celebrated day of new beginnings is not to decide where to learn but rather just to start learning of any kind. Here’s a list of inspirational blog posts to help get you going. Now go Choose Yourself.

Happy New Year!


 

Micro Learning

Monika gets it. Learning isn't about how much and how fast you can cram into people's brains. Rather, the best learning occurs when you pair a student with someone with a perfectly matched skillset tailored just to them.  Better yet, the process occurs at the micro level...one on one or small groups.

We call this tutoring. Previously, your search for an algebra expert or guitar master was limited to finding someone nearby. Not any more...

In Search of Expert Individual Tutors

Your project can work the same way. Why limit solving problems to those around you when there's a better way?