ACCIDENTAL LEARNING: LEVERAGING WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED BY ACCIDENT FOR YOUR BUSINESS

We have all heard this phrase before. It looks great on a Pinterest board or a Facebook wall with a scenic photo as a background and a few well-placed, hand drawn leaves and flower embellishments. It rolls easily off the tongue when we’re presented with something new or novel that we didn’t know before. But is it true? Do we really learn something new every day?

I think we do. I think we can.

I think we must. The dreams and goals for our businesses and personal lives depend on it.

The thought can be intimidating. After all, information flies at us at what seems like warp speed. Our lives are already chock full of busyness. Learning takes time. Learning can be expensive. Learning hurts my brain. I know what you’re thinking. Are you kidding me? I cannot possibly add one more thing to my day.

Do not panic. We can do this.

When I took on my first website building project, it was not the only project I had going at the time. I knew there were things I was going to be doing that I didn’t yet know how to do. Learning them was going to take an investment of time and physical and mental energy, but I wasn’t willing to let this opportunity pass me by. The chance for growth for my business was right in front of me. I was grabbing it and running with it! But there were moments – oh there were moments – when I asked myself, What am I doing?

As I look back on that whole learning process, there were things I could have done better. There were also things I could have done worse. I’m going to share with you what I’ll call The Three A’s of Leveraging Your Learning. These three keys will help you jump start the learning process by helping you recognize the learning resources and opportunities already available to you. Today we’ll talk about

(Sidenote:  I’m a huge fan of words. Alliteration makes me happy. So yes, the three keys all start with the letter A. You’re welcome.)

The Three A’s of Leveraging Your Learning

1. Accidental Learning

We learn new things all the time without even trying. Stumbling upon information that will be valuable to your dreams or business later happens more often than you think. The challenge is recognizing accidental learning when it happens, then putting it into use.

Not sure what I mean by accidental learning? Accidental learning can include anything you come across in your day-to-day that you haven’t purposefully sought out. A magazine article at the dentist’s office. A radio program you catch while waiting in traffic.

Leverage it. Use it. Take advantage of these free gifts when they come. How?

  • Be Aware. Keep your radar on folks! Pay attention – you’re more likely to see and grasp those learning opportunities if you’re paying attention to what’s going on around you.
  • Be Available. You want to learn? It’s a temptation to zone out when you don’t have to be “on”. We definitely need downtime to recharge and unwind. Be aware that you could come across something helpful to you and your learning process at any time. Keep those eyes open!
  • Be Amenable. Being amenable to learning, or as Merriam Webster defines it “open and responsive to suggestion”, can make a huge difference to the way you retain new information.
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