I was at a seminar a few weeks ago when the host asked the audience for a show of hands to indicate if they considered themselves “lifelong learners” Yes, I knew the answer to that and my hand shot up. It was interesting to see that nearly everyone else did too. It got me thinking about what people meant when professing this.
For me, my love of learning didn’t start at school. I remember choosing my “O Level” options, (Yes showing my age). I opted for shorthand and typing. A brave decision then: This was in the days of typewriters and dictaphones. PC’s and word processers were still just a twinkle in someone’s eye. My teachers were horrified. Apparently I was far too bright to throw away one of my options learning something I could apparently do in a night class. I stubbornly dug my heels in and insisted. Little was I to know that learning how to speed type and present information was probably one of the most useful skills I would need in the world of work.
I often thank my intuition for helping me hold out for what seemed at the time an illogical decision. I left school at 16 and became a typist. It lasted for 9 months.
So, school was good for fundamentals, but it wasn’t where my inspiration for learning started. My love of learning started in my first managerial position at the tender age of 23. I became the office manager in a busy Court office, with around 15 people. All who were considerably older than me, and all who had masses more experience than me. I had to learn fast. I had also been infused with a purpose.
For the next 7 years or so, I consciously began learning the art of managing and understanding people. I steadily climbed the ladder of management roles. Not an academic course in sight, but the richest and most fertile seat of learning anyone could be handed. For the first half of my life, my learning really was the University of Life.
In those years I learned: •
- To listen to my intuition, my inner coach and guide •
- To sharpen my emotional intelligence, vital if you want to succeed in this world •
- Understanding myself, knowing how I operate and how others operate is essential to keep moving. •
- How to use my own personal power to make things happen.
- My core values and acceptance of other’s values not necessarily the same as mine.
My academic learning began somewhat later. Throughout my management career I had undertaken and enjoyed masses of work based learning. I became a trainer alongside my management role and subsequently designed learning, as well as managing a variety of teams. My love of teaching what I knew was born in those years too.
I was a mature student when I embarked on my first management and teaching qualifications, and then my degree course. By then, I knew my learning style – and academia wasn’t it. I realised of course by then that I was only going to get my foot in the door of better work opportunities if I had the credibility of good qualifications behind me. So I persevered and the whole experience has helped me become more rounded. With age too, I am less likely to want to learn wholly by experience and getting things done, I have become much more of a reflector.
For me, learning has been one of the most purposeful motivators in my life. I have learned the tools of my trade well. I continue to add to my skills and knowledge and can’t imagine a time when I won’t do that. If I want to achieve something, there is always someone who has the skills and knowledge I want and I am always open to learning from someone with greater knowledge. That might be in the form of a book, a training event, or being coached.
But even learning to widen my knowledge and understanding on a wide range of subjects still isn’t my whole reason for proclaiming to be a lifelong learner. The richness in my lifelong learning has been my continuous self-development. Learning about how I operate, create my own reality, my limiting beliefs and how to overcome them. How I relate to others, and how to make things happen. In the word of Covey I am constantly “Sharpening the Saw” of my own self-awareness.
My business, People Discovery is about sharing my knowledge skills and experience both as Manager, Educationalist and HR expert. As well as sharing my knowledge about charting your own self-development.
Throughout the years, I have been coached and coached others. It is a vital and valuable tool to help yourself and others to grow in knowledge and skills. More importantly for me though, it is one of the most powerful ways to help with self-development, raising self-awareness and tapping into your own intuition.
I am working with an inspirational lady, who is teaching about coaching skills as part of a wider curriculum. Watch out for her take on coaching in my guest blog spot next week.
Are you a lifelong learner? What is your learning experience? What is it about learning that is important for you? I'd love to hear from you.
For more information visit www.peoplediscovery.co.uk