LEARNING BY ASSOCIATION: LEVERAGING WHO YOU KNOW TO INCREASE WHAT YOU KNOW

Photo credit by Dr. Cathie Dunal

Good morning friends! Yesterday we talked about accidental learning, and I gave you some tips on how to be more purposeful about looking for and using the things you learn unexpectedly in your day to day lives. Be aware. Be available. Be amenable. You never know when you’ll come across something that will become a stepping stone towards something great!

Speaking of great, how great is the graphic above?! I bet you didn’t know that fun fact before now. Aren’t you glad you know it now? I mean, seriously, life changing! 🙂 For more fun random facts, check out Dr. Cathie Dunal’s website. Her fun little cartoons and random facts are making my day!

Before we get started on today’s topic, “Leveraging Who You Know to Increase What You Know”, I just want to clarify something. I’m not super crazy about the title of this blog post. The word leverage can have kind of a negative connotation. The poor word gets a bad rap! Webster defines leverage as:

“Influence or power used to achieve a desired result”

This definition might seem to imply that I’m saying you should use your influence and power over others to get what you want. No. Just no. I will never, ever encourage anyone to use power or influence over another. I will always, always encourage people to work together in community to accomplish goals. In the case of this blog post, I’m using the word leverage in a slightly different way. Think of it like a formula:

Their influence and power + my respectful request for information = together achieving a desired result

Boom. Glad we got that settled.

Learning by Association
No one person can know everything, but we all have a unique set of knowledge and skills. Working together, we can boost each other up. Everyone wins!

When you’re in that place where you’re ready to take that next step and launch out into the unknown, look at the people around you, those in your family, circle of friends, community. Consider what they know. Do they have skills you’d like to learn? Have they had experience that would benefit your new venture in some way? Can they offer lessons and information that would help you avoid any pitfalls and setbacks?

You can learn from these people. You need to learn from these people. But how? It’s not as if you can hook up a cable and download information directly from their brain into yours. (Oh my goodness, if someone has figured that out, please let me know. I’ve got some super smart peeps I’d love to borrow from!) I’m going to give you three tips on how you can get started leveraging that information they have, the influence and power they possess. And yes, they all start with the letter “A”. Because alliteration.

  • Admit You Need Help. First steps first, right? This one can be a tough one for me. Asking for help can be so hard! Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers. Asking for help isn’t a weakness. Asking for help shows strength! It shows you are willing and committed to do what it takes and to reach your goals.
  • Assess Your Circles. Take half an hour to sit down and think about what you need to know and who in your circles might have the information and skills to help you out. For me, this meant looking at family, friends and acquaintances’ websites, then writing down a series of questions I’d like to ask them. What elements of their websites did people respond to? Why did they include this feature or that feature? What was the hardest part about designing a website? What would you do differently?

          I also thought about my professional circles. Were there people I had helped
          in the past who might be willing to return the favor? What do they know or
          have experience with that might be key for me? Again, write the questions
          down. Then get ready for step three.

  • Ask For Help. Duh. Just ask. We have all been asked for help before. And when someone comes to you respectfully with an honest desire to learn, you want to help. Remind yourself of that, grab your list of questions, and pick up the phone.

People respond very favorably to an honest seeker. If they say no, just move on down the line. They may reconsider later. One thing is for certain though – if you don’t ask, you will never get a yes.

Don’t force yourself to reinvent the wheel when there’s someone who’s been where you are who can help. You can do this!

Have a great Friday!

Christa

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