Isn’t learning a powerful thing? I work with entrepreneurs weekly who are actively seeking to learn new skills. The remarkable thing I’ve come to notice the last few years is there are multiple components of the successful learner. The first component has to do with desiring to learn. The individual or team has an open mind, an inquisitive spirit that says “what can I do to change the outcome?” It’s a simple thing but that “I” in the middle of the question has a significant impact on the next actions that happen. You see we are each responsible for the actions that matter in our own lives.
Learning can happen, skills can be learned, but if one does not understand the scope and sequence of the skills involved, there can be much effort without outcome. Scope and sequence understanding allows the individual or team to construct and deconstruct areas of their training, business offerings or product processes. When you know what value each part of a business or skill sequence is, it’s much easier to identify what is working and not working in your business. Many entrepreneurs I work with have spent years on building things: websites, papers, products, programs, but they did not understand the value of audience share, pre-marketing communications, sales scripts, or easy user interface, and such so the products simply didn’t have anywhere to go. A restaurant can have the best recipes and service in town but it will not be found if no one knows what it serves or where it is located. Components of success often involve communication both internally and externally.
In sales trainings, we often are told we must know our “why’s”. I think this is true on many levels in business. We thrive when we have a solid set of foundational understandings or “whys” of the reasons we choose to be in business. Our decisions are more easily made when we have a clearly communicated knowledge of “why” we do the steps we do in business. Our trainings and service procedures are more often followed when the user or employee understands the value or the “why” of what is required of them or the service to achieve success. When we identify and affirm the “whys” of our daily life actions, it is easier to accommodate the need for them in our own daily actions. When we know the “how to’s” and “whys” of our actions, we build a strong alliance in our daily lives.
Decluttering is a popular topic on all fronts of living. Successful learners have a great need for decluttering as well. To learn effectively, we each must identify and remove all that clutters the process of attention or actions. Recently I had to make difficult decisions about my life in business. There were many emotional clusters of clutter around a set of a specific organization and decisions. When I put on paper the outcomes I needed to achieve and deconstructed the known process to achieve the goals at hand, I recognized many unproductive items and relationships that were “cluttering” the process of daily life and business. Whether it is unnecessary time disruptors or too many activities that prevent ease in action, decluttering our business and personal lives to reflect what we truly value matters.
For too long I had carried some activities that were neither business nor friendship, those activities were often emotionally draining, physically taxing for time, and financially expensive to support, but I had allowed emotional clutter to keep the activities in my processes of weekly work and schedule. However when I looked at the operation activities for business, that which was producing enjoyment and success in my life and the life of my business, I found that too often the desire to avoid emotional push backs had overridden good business decisions.
Once I decluttered the emotional concerns of releasing the non productive parts of relationships, and in some cases, the relationships themselves, to the requirements of a client to be “good for business” and “supporting positive interactions” changes were easy to enact. Our “whys” provide an easy to compare value when decisions must be made. “Does this align with my personal and professional values?” “Am I committing to something that is a win for our client, for our team, for our community?” These types of questions certainly helps my business engage and release opportunities that may or may not be a fit for our business. Like a shoe that is the wrong size, a client or potential project that isn’t a fit for your business or values is better left on the shelf than removed after pain is suffered.
As we learn we grow. As we gain experience we have the opportunity to revisit what is working and not working in our lives. The joy of learning is that we can choose to take time to improve, relearn, or release wrong learning from our lives. I highly prize the gift of learning, for it brings almost unlimited possibilities if I am willing to engage its gifts.