Making a success of your professional life – especially as an entrepreneur – is a complicated thing, and requires a great deal of hard work, consistency, technical know-how, and insight, among other things.
When it comes to trying to pinpoint the particular traits that help to make people successful in a professional context, things like grit, tenacity, and clarity of purpose are all right up there – but there’s no argument that remaining dedicated to constantly learning and growing is one of the most important things of all.
When you are dedicated to continuous learning and growth in your professional life, you are able to remain adaptive, and to shape and improve your business through different iterations, across time. You can respond to changes in the market and employee expectations smoothly and effectively. You can continuously find new avenues for innovation and creativity. And much more.
Here are just a few tips on how to keep constantly learning in your professional life.
First and foremost, one of the best ways of ensuring that you are continually learning in your professional life, is to take courses that specifically help to develop your skills and insights, in a way that will be professionally useful.
Cyber security courses, for example, are increasingly relevant as virtually all businesses today require a strong online presence in order to thrive – at the same time as cyber criminals are becoming bolder and more sophisticated in their attacks.
At the same time, however, courses with a more general slant might also prove very useful – for example, courses on how to conduct effective market research, or how to budget more effectively.
Today, there are a huge number of different resources available online that can help you to acquire new skills, study new subjects, and refine your understanding of a variety of different topics.
Maybe you’ll want to sign up for courses from particular expert trainers in your industry, try out general courses from a platform like Coursera, or do a combination of both approaches.
Have assorted side projects going at any given time
One of the most powerful and effective ways of learning is by learning through practice, in a hands-on manner.
Often, simply working on a particular project that requires you to expand your baseline understanding and skill set can make a tremendous difference, and can give you all sorts of insights, and develop you in all sorts of ways that would be very difficult, if not impossible, to come by from a purely theoretical perspective.
Having various side projects going at any given time can, therefore, really help you to learn and grow both with regards to your main business, and just in general, more broadly.
Interestingly, some books have been written that argue convincingly that being an effective generalist – and having worked on a variety of different projects, and in a variety of different capacities – is often one of the most significant factors in personal and professional success.
This was the basis of the writer David Epstein’s book “Range,” for example, which looked at many examples of successful individuals from a variety of different industries and walks of life, and found that those who had worked on a range of different projects were often far more dynamic and insightful than those who were narrowly specialised.
The upshot of all of this is that you should continue constantly expanding your horizons by trying out different side projects that stretch your capabilities.
Study examples of other people in your field
There is a well-known saying that “success leaves clues,” and it is certainly true that studying the examples and stories of other people in your field who have been successful, is one of the best ways of learning, expanding, and growing as a professional, in your own right.
In fact, studying the biographies of people who have failed, blundered, or fallen from grace, can be just as instructive, in the sense of showing you what not to do.
It’s a big and intricate world out there, and there are many different variables to weigh up when trying to figure out how to progress professionally. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel from scratch, look at what other people have done, and use the lessons you can draw from their life experiences to shape your own course.
Often, these stories can be more informative and instructive than virtually anything else, apart from your own on-the-ground experiences.