“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein
Not So Long Ago…
I grew up with a rotary phone, a long cord, and an endless struggle with my parents and brother on who gets to use the phone and for how long.
By the time I got to college, we had this thing called a laptop that we had to use.
It was the size of a suitcase, heavy as a 50lb weight and closed shut like a clam.
We also had to schedule mainframe time to task out the problems for quantitative analysis, and we could not use a calculator, unless it was the HP Financial one, for the Finance classes, along with the floppy disk that ran Lotus 1-2-3 for our financial problems.
A lot has changed since then. I am writing this on an iPad, while flying at 20,000 feet. Long gone are the days of dial-up internet, with the modem sound dialing, sending a static noise as the modems connected, and then you would hear AOL “you’ve got mail.”
I have seen a lot of technological changes in my career, and it has been further accelerating in the last five years. I don’t know how I lived without my smartphone and how I actually navigated around.
The Five (5) ….
The following five (5) things are what I have done to continue to stay relevant, in my life and career, as I have embraced a mindset of continuous learning.
- Take on stretch assignments: Ask to be put on a project that will challenge you and allow you to learn about something new. You can also ask to take on an expanded assignment in your current role.
- Keep up with your industry trends: Spend at least 2 hours a week keeping up to date on your industry and your companies application of these trends. If they are not applying, this could be an opportunity to add value by sharing with others inside your company what you have learned.
- Build an external network: focus on building a mutually beneficial network outside your company, that you can add value to, as well as, gain benefit.
- Learn something new: Every three (3) to six (6) months, strive to learn something new. Something that will help you stay relevant. Whether it is technical, non-technical, enhancing a skill, or discovering a skill you didn’t know you had. Just commit to be curious and learn.
- Take risks: continuous learners step out of their comfort zones and tackle new things. They don’t know all of what they are getting into, but they step out any way to learn and grow. They are intellectually curious and know that the experience will be worth it.
With the rate of change in the world, my thought is that skills need to be evolving, growing, and adapting at an exponential rate. As I noted above, every three (3) to six (6) months look back and see what you have learned, how it can be applied in other aspects of your life, and check in on where you are going with it.
Over the past few years, I have learned about Digital Process Automation (Process Robotics), Meditation, Strength training, Leadership, Blogging, WordPress, Podcasts, Websites, and many other things.
I have changed companies and industries after 23 years and am learning a lot every day.
I am using all the skills I have built over the many years in my career, and I am learning new ones like the companies, people, process, and technology.
The great thing is that I have a solid background to draw from because I have committed to myself to remain relevant.
When I look back over my career, I had no idea that learning to use computers and how they work, communicate, and enable business was going to fuel my success.
Being able to translate between business and technical people, is a skill that has allowed me to build, transform, and unlock customer and business value.
Continuous learning is part of a growth mindset and a commitment to your future.
Remaining relevant through your career becomes more challenging the older we get and the more distractions we have. The great news is, there are lots of great resources now, more so than when I was just starting, take advantage of them all.
When you commit to learning, you commit to self-improvement. You are also committing to yourself that you will remain relevant, engaged, and future-focused.
Harness your growth and Shine Brightly!
Samantha Johnson, Lead Writer, and Organizational Strategist for BJD Leadership Training & Team Development. June 2020. Views my own.
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