Don’t ever ignore it. You can’t read too many books or attend too many seminars dealing with your professional growth. If you find you don’t have the time or patience to read a book cover to cover, investigate the executive book and tape clubs that summarize the latest best-sellers on the market. They give you a targeted, focused view of the materials and provide you with the main point of emphasis. For those who want a more detailed picture of the research and findings of the authors, you might try a speed reading course.
Another way of learning is to network. In talking with other professionals, you discover new ideas as well as testing your own. Very often, you’ll work out problem areas simply by verbalizing them to someone else. A new person often has a totally different insight into matters that may not have occurred to you because you’re so closely involved.
It also provides you with contacts, referrals and sources of information you might find extremely difficult to discover on your own. Having peers you can call on for support and guidance is an important step in learning.
Bloom where you are. Learning how and where to position yourself is an integral part of self-education. Your industry may be very small when it comes to recommendations and reputation. If your name continually pops up in the right circles, it’s an absolute plus. To be a winner, you need to continue to develop and if you can’t do it on your own, you owe it to yourself to explore other possibilities.
Write down a plan on a piece of paper of where you want to do and how to accomplish it. Segment the growth patterns and realistic deadlines. Examine the process. Can you see a pattern of steps for where you want to be? You are bound to discover there is certain information you will need to possess to reach your targeted accomplishments.
Most likely it will take additional learning, formal or informal, to get there. Equally important, you will establish a reputation as a serious and credible person. Through the learning process you will also discover a great deal about yourself–your likes and dislikes, tolerances and intolerances, strengths and weaknesses.
And very important, just how much patience you have for the learning process. Many energetic, hard driving people want to get to the top and if that entails many hours of learning, some “go-getters” don’t have the guts to stick it out.