Life is all about learning. You can learn by studying formally. You can learn by observation or from a mentee (with a Mentor). You can also learn by being asked questions – this can be indirect coaching or a more dialogue based investigation unit a subject, where you are gently challenged to reflect and find the answers.
You csn also be told what to do. This can be useful if you subsequently reflect and learn from it, but realise someone else may be doing the thinking initially. Sometimes you need their knowledge, sometimes you need question, so you discover the answer yourself.
Don’t forget learning by doing, by experience. Find a way. Blaze a trail. Teach yourself.
What did I learn this year, and how?
Let’s take a look, reviewing the different learning styles above:
Learn by studying
This year I took two online certifications to add to my CV. Some of this had to be ‘wrote learning’ literally repeating it until I could recall it. New information is often like that, repeat it, use different ways to process it (words, pictures, spoken recall) until you can do the exam. Variety in the method (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc) helps keep your brain interested. I’ve yet to find a way of olfactory study!
Learning by discussion
This year at work and at home I gained new skills by doing. I solved a problem in my kitchen by thinking it through and researching it. It was a mix of thinking, talking and consulting with experts (a builder and an electrician). The consensus process of overlapping agreement helped shape the answer.
Learning by doing
I also learned how to cement some cracks in my path and make a cover for a water tank and cut up a galvanised loft tank. I hadn’t done these tasks before, but they were similar to something I had done previously. If I did them again I would be wiser, faster and know how long they would take. That’s experience based learning. These aren’t my favourite jobs, but the skills might be useful in the future.
Learn your strengths (and weaknesses)
Also this year I needed to purchase some software at work. I did the requirements and planning and details. When I needed to negotiate I struggled, but my supervisor stepped in. He has experience and frequent practice from being self employed. I learned by direct observation. There wasn’t much that he did that was new, he was just more practised and fluent in his actions.
I also learned that it’s not my favourite behaviour, but I see the value of it. I’m more a collaborative creature by nature. Sometimes it’s good to borrow a behavior or skill (or a person with that skill) that’s what makes a team work well.
Learn from the heart
As well as rational brain stuff there’s the Yin to that Yang, the emotional side of 2017. I learned that sometimes I need space. (mental and physical – like Yoga time) and that working with family members who have depression is demanding and you need recovery time. Stress can make you angry or tired. You need to exercise selfcare (and exercise!).
I also learned how valuable friends are. Some that step in for a chat when you need them. Some that stay in touch over the years/miles. You need your ‘familiars’ to support you and define who you are. Thanks guys! 😊
Sometimes you need to spend time reaffirming who you are. After my certification and some family stress this year I wrote about who I was, what’s important to me, my skills and my values.
If you have some changes in your life, your identity csn change or need redefining to help you move forward. It underpins what you do, so decisions can be blocked or create identity change.
Keep a check on what you learned this year, congratulation yourself on your wins. Learn from your challenges too. And ask yourself Who are you now? at the end of 2017.