Recently there’s been an interest in people wanting to know how to get more creative or be inspired to take charge of their own professional and personal development and learning.
This is something that I love to share my own experience but rather than present any formulaic templates and plans for how you can do it, I prefer to share my own stories, experiences and actions so that you are inspired to take the first step IN YOUR OWN WAY AND TIME.
That is, do not expect formulas, models or plans from me.
The trick is YOU HAVE TO CREATE YOUR OWN and I can help with that but all the work will have to be your own.
As you know, learning is getting out of your comfort zone and taking time to experiment, practice and reflect.
Sometimes we are comfortable to do this on our own, other times we want to share elements of what we are doing to a small group of trusted friends, colleagues and allies for feedback whereas other times, we go all out to share it openly, publicly and transparently – warts and all for feedback and encouragement.
Regardless of how you choose to learn, I always say learning is personal. And, you have to OWN it.
There’ll be people telling you that you need to show and share your work, that you’ll need to follow a formula, that you’ll need to do x, y and z before you do a, b and c. That you have to use their systems and their process.
The truth is, it’s none of that. Don’t listen to them.
The biggest challenge you’ll have to overcome is your own mindset towards continual and lifelong learning – and obliterate all those excuses you’ve been telling yourself such as no time and no money.
The way I learn is through what seems to an outsider an unstructured approach to meandering and unlinked ideas. Some have said that I have “monkey brain” or “shiny object syndrome”. The truth is, I get excited by what are seemingly unrelated incidents, ideas and actions that I like to delve into and then find links, reasons and connections – then make my own meaning from them.
Some have described me as overly curious like a child – others just plain annoying.
The way I learn is through INSPIRATION, APPLICATION AND REFLECTION especially through sideline projects that help me consider how to apply in my normal day-to-day work.
I need to be inspired by an idea so that I could then, as an explorer without a map, start my own journey and create that map, and find the crew – the people along the way who can give me clues to the next idea.
(So in a way, think of me as someone who will help you draw your map – not give you the map).
I like to apply these ideas to sideline projects and then incorporate seemingly unrelated ideas to it to make some meaning (and strangely, along the way people tell me how I can even come up with some connections they hadn’t even considered!) and then reflect on each result.
However, my way of learning may not be your way of learning – and that’s okay.
My “business model” is one of role modelling and inspiration – not by selling you my formula. Besides, it’s way more fun to help each other out because in all honesty, when we work together, I like to think that I’m the one LEARNING FROM YOU and not the other way around.
Over the last few months, I’ve been interviewed by a few people who asked me how I did this and I thought I’d collate them here on this blog if you’re interested in listening.
My sideline projects are my adventures into learning. On the outside, they look irrelevant to my day-to-day work but at their heart, they’re about connection, creativity, teamwork, reflection, experimentation, play.
Most of all, they’re about relating with others (social learning) and having a child-like curiosity and interest in the craft, its impact to my work and its significance of my place in the world at this point in time.
Here they are:
Staying Professionally Relevant
Trevor Young (@trevoryoung) has the Digital Citizen podcast and he interviewed me about how I show and share what I’m working and learning. In this podcast I share some aspects of:
- Showing and sharing the process of your work, and the opportunities that come from that, including exposure to new thinking and connections made with like-minded people around the world
- Documenting your professional journey: “the purpose will come out somehow”
- Meta-learning: “learning how to learn”
- Capturing a body of work: how I archive my work through daily Snapchat videos so I can “understand what I’m doing”
- Sideline projects: balancing the personal and the professional
Stories of the Brave
Helen Palmer (@helenmpal) has a great website chock full of resources to help inspire you to be yourself unlimited at Self UnLimited. Here she interviewed me about my sideline gig which has got nothing to do with money, and everything to do with learning, being creative and having fun as well as the positive flow-on effects to other parts of my life.
Here’s Why Two Grown Adults Use Snapchat Every Day
I’ve been chatting with Aaron Adel (@bizaaron) every day for over 100 days. How do I know? Well, we are using the Snap Streaking function of Snapchat as a way to share our ideas and plans. In effect, it was Aaron’s idea to use the streaking function as a personal coaching tool. In this video, we talk about how using Snapchat has helped us develop our work practices.
Don’t think that you need to start using Snapchat. Start thinking about who can help you in your learning process and how you can use your technology or media to connect, share, work, learn together. Just because I use Snapchat for this need not mean you do the same if you’re not comfortable. What I encourage people to do is look at the PROCESS and then find the suitable medium to help you in your endeavour – they all do the same thing so make these work for YOU, not the other way around.
So there you have it. A few recent podcasts and interviews for you to consider. Ultimately, if you are stuck in a rut and want to learn something new – whether it’s work related or not – don’t make up excuses. There are means and ways to be able to take the first steps initially to get you comfortable before you delve into open and social learning.