by Tasha M. Troy
When I was very young – I mean preschool-aged young – I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to go to school. I only know this because of a deep disappointment I experienced on my fifth birthday.
My mother had told me that I could go to school when I was five. I expected that meant I would start going to school as soon as I turned five. However, my birthday is in March! On my birthday, I announced, “I’m ready to go to school now!” And my mother had the unfortunate duty of explaining that I’d have to keep waiting until the new school year started in September.
My poor 5-year-old heart was devastated!
Learn to Love Learning
I love learning, and I love helping people learn. It’s become pretty much a life goal. But the truth is, if you want to change an area in your life, there’s learning you need to do so that that change can happen. You can grow into the person for whom that change becomes more natural.
John Maxwell, in his book Leadership Gold, spends a whole chapter on this topic gives three suggestions that will help you adapt this attitude of learning – Keep Learning to Keep Leading.
- Invest in yourself.
- Be a continual learner.
- Create a growth environment.
Today, I’m going to focus on the first suggestion. I will discuss the other two suggestions in upcoming posts.
Invest in Yourself
The first suggestion John gives us is to invest in yourself. Sometimes that’s really hard to do. So often I feel like I have to invest my time and my energy on this or that project or that responsibility, trying to reach goals, trying to accomplish things. I forget to take time for myself, to reflect on the things that I’m learning, to be intentional about learning the things I need in order to grow in the areas I need to grow in.
So for example, there’s an area of my life where I definitely need to make some changes, which is my health. I have been resisting making changes for a while, for a long time, and it’s an area I have chosen not to prioritize – even though it probably needs to be one of my top priorities.
Recently, I’ve been thinking, “Okay, I need to do a little more research; I need to learn more about this area so that I can move forward and change a little bit more – well-informed, more intentional, more prepared.” The little bit of learning has paid off, and I’ve started making the changes I need to make to improve in this area.
So the first tip is invest in yourself first.
In this chapter, John points out that sometimes people think this is a selfish position. Those of us who are naturally generous or service-oriented can fall into this trap easily.
However, you really can’t help anyone else if you are drained, empty, and struggling. As John Maxwell likes to say, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” When you take care of yourself first and you invest in your own growth first, you’re then able to invest in others.
I’d like to close with John’s own words: “Working hard and putting in long hours does not ensure growth. Neither does promotion. What will you do this week, this month, and this year to actively grow?” (p. 132)
Take It Deeper
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. If you would like to go deeper on this topic, I offer an ongoing live online course on personal and professional development: Professional Development Essentials.
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I’d love to hear your thoughts! What topics would you like to learn more about? You can email me at TMTroy@TroyCommunications.Net.
Maxwell, John C. (2008) Keep Learning to Keep Leading. Leadership Gold. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.