What Did I Learn Today?
If you follow me, you know I’m an avid learner. I’m always exploring new ideas, ways to improve, new processes, new tools and resources. I learn in a variety of ways, including listening to podcasts, reading, taking online courses, attending seminars, and joining in the conversations on Clubhouse. Learning and growing is something that is part of my daily activity, and though absorbing and retaining tons of information in a short period of time may not be the best learning method for every individual, everyone should focus on growth at some point throughout each day and at a minimum, during at least once each week.
A few days ago, I came across a very informative article and wanted to share some insights with you (my learning and thoughts) on the information it provided, in order to support you on your learning and growth journey. Remember, learning is a journey, not a race — there's no finish line with growth. If development as a person is important to you, which I hope it is, you should always be learning. In fact, you should ask yourself, “What did I learn today?” every day — and use your journal to capture your response and record your growth.
In the article, published by the World Economic Forum, they shared a statistic that is super powerful, but can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and I want to share my view of this with you today. The statistic read like this: “Almost 40% of workers, based on 32,000 responses, think their job will be obsolete within five years” — according to the 2021 Hopes and Fears Report by PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers).
Now, most people would look at this as a negative — in that the job they are doing today will either be obsolete or performed some other way, including by robots or other technologies, within the next 5 years. In fact, the article referenced that “humans and machines are predicted to spend an equal amount of time on tasks at work by 2025.”
As an employee, being replaced by tech could be a scary thought, but let me give you another perspective that offers a positive way to look at how quickly our society is advancing. Although the article says 40% of jobs will be obsolete, you can interpret this as 40% of tasks — the to-do list tasks that you do on a daily basis. There will always be jobs for people — always! The titles we hold, the jobs we do, and the tasks we perform will change and evolve overtime — as companies evolve and change due to a variety of advancements. So, rather than look at technological advancement as a negative, let’s look at it as an opportunity.
An opportunity to learn, grow, and level up our skill sets to become more valuable, talented, skilled, and knowledgeable employees — regardless of what you currently do. And, how do you do this? Well, if you guessed learning, you’re absolutely correct!
For example, let’s say you work in accounting and that job function is moving towards total automation, which is likely, given the tools that are currently in place and being developed. What could you do, learn, or add to your repertoire that would enhance your skills and set you up for another better, more beneficial position in the future? Well, since you’re in accounting, that tells me you like math and numbers, and spreadsheets are used a lot in math — but they are also used for a variety of other things. So one thing you could do is take classes or courses in Excel and become an expert on using them.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve seen some amazing spreadsheets used in a variety of ways that had nothing to do with math — if fact, I was blown away by the sheer amount of information and the organization of the information that was shared (and yes, this image is a Excel Spreadsheet!).
This is a perfect example of learning something new, expanding your skill set and creating new opportunities for yourself, simply by using your existing skills and adding to them. If you can organize a spreadsheet like this, you could explore opportunities in marketing, sales, and beyond. And it all started with you taking that class or course on making Excel look great and function flawlessly.
If you’re curious about where to go for career advancing resources, there are several places to start, including LinkedIn Learning, Utemy, and even your local community college likey offers helpful, practical courses — just Google it and see what comes up! I think you’ll discover how affordable adding skills to your resume can be.
The bottom line is it all starts with you making the decision to increase your knowledge, skills, and worth by investing in yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to send you to a seminar to upgrade your skills or pay for a class. It’s up to you to take control of your career path and create your future. Don’t wait for your job to become obsolete or your tasks to be outsourced to some technology tool. Start today!
When I talk to my clients, the question eager learners always ask me is, “How do I start?” It’s a great question! I’ve got a very simple framework that can help you get started moving your skillset into the “irreplaceable” column and investing in your personal growth, and it involves you answering a few questions.
What current skills do you want or need to enhance? Self examination questions can be both easy and hard to answer, because they force us to evaluate our performance or skill set honestly. For me, I want to become a better group and meeting facilitator, using the foundations of design thinking. I do a good job at it today, but I could always be better!
What new skills do you want to learn? Anything that comes to mind is a valid answer, especially things you are passionate about but want to become better at — like drawing or art, or using a new technology you recently discovered. For me — I would say that the new skill I want to learn is how to master a new collaboration platform I just became familiar with, called Mural. It’s really cool and if you work with others in any collaborative capacity, you should check it out at https://www.mural.com/
Why is this new skill important to me? It’s a good practice to continually connect with “why” you are doing something. Knowing and understanding your why can be inspirational and motivate you to keep learning, growing, and moving forward. As for me, my reason for enhancing my Mural skills is about becoming a better facilitator and confidently using tools with my clients to help them visualize the future — and actively participate in the process of growth.
How will I learn more? Now that you have the list of things you want to enhance or learn, your last step is to determine how exactly you are going to do it. Keeping with my Mural example, I’m attending a free 45-minute webinar on how to use the platform, and I found that training by reading through my emails and paying attention to the information they sent me. Again, there are multiple ways to learn, so open up your internet browser and start searching for ways to learn!
As you journal the answers to these questions and really hone in on what you want to improve in your skillset, I encourage you to pick one thing and simply start! Don’t let the list overwhelm you. If it helps you, put them in order of priority then get started checking them off your list. If you commit 1-hour each week to learning, growing, and improving — you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish over the course of the year.
So as you wrap up each day, ask yourself the question — “What did I learn today?” Then come back in a few months and review the list, then celebrate yourself, your growth, and all of your accomplishments! Be sure to visit my blog at www.sidmeadows.com/blog and let me know the one thing you are going to start learning or improving today. You got this!