There are many ways to expand your knowledge. Today, a college degree is equivalent to a high school diploma. It’s a minimum requirement for most jobs, but college isn’t the only way to learn new things. Let’s face it, many business professionals do not have many hours at their disposal to dedicate to sitting in a classroom. For this reason, many colleges and universities are creating hybrid learning environments where meetings are done once a week, or even once a month, sometimes for an hour and most of the content is online. This approach is also being used in high schools with the increase of virtual curriculum. Our world is moving and molding into this new direction we call the “information era”. Companies are simply facilitating the process for you. Right now information is free, it’s out there, and it’s accessible. We all have the power to learn. If you’re not learning something new every day, I’m not sure what you’re doing.
However, real life experience is priceless. Application of knowledge is everything. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals is powerful. Calling in experts for quick responses to complicated questions is valuable. There are numerous ways to stay informed and ahead of the competition.
There are many things I do to fill up my time with in between getting work done. Here are three things that will help you become an expert in your field. Keep in mind, it’s important to create a schedule for learning new things and have some sort of regiment. Find what times work best for you and go for it.
- Podcast: I love podcasts because they’re fun, educational and really convenient. I enjoy listening to podcasts in the shower, as I get ready for my day or in long car rides. If you’re short on time, a great podcast to listen to is the $100 MBA, it’s a 10-minute daily podcast that gets right to the point without a lot of extra noise. When I have more time I listen to the BiggerPockets podcast; I’ve been a member of the site for years, it’s all about real estate investing. Even if that’s not your cup of tea, they have expert guests and provide information which can be used across multiple industries.
- Books: There are some books that, in my opinion, should be read by everyone. Some of those include, the 4 Hour Workweek, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Lean Startup, Who Moved My Cheese, The One Thing, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The E-Myth, etc. I love to search for these books, get some interactive pdfs printed out to follow along to, find the audiobook via Audible or find a streaming audio on YouTube. If you prefer cassette tapes and CDs, you can go on eBay or Amazon to purchase them. When you come across some free time, get stuck or frustrated with what you’re working on, or going on a flight, pick up a book or play the audiobook.
- On the Job Training: Why not have the experts come to you? You can have workshops, seminars and trainings from the comfort of your office. Currently, 1.7 million dollars has been made available via The Governor’s Workforce Board to increase the skills, competitiveness and productivity of current RI employees. Companies can apply for up to 50% of training cost and no more than $45,000 per year in funding. Expert can be hired to increase your employee skill set with a 50% reimbursement as a bonus. There should be no excuses for not building up your company’s skill level. Now is the time to act. More information can be found at http://www.gwb.ri.gov/grants.htm.
After exposure to the listed recommendations, the next step is to be a creator. To become an expert in any of these things, the key is expanding your knowledge & assessing your lifelong accomplishments in order to be the facilitator for an on-job-training workshop, write a book or record a podcast series. Your time is now. Get to it!