Oh, sweet summer. Where I live in Minnesota, it’s finally arrived after a miserably long snow-filled winter. All I want to do is get outside and soak up the sun….and learn.
Summer is a pretty ideal time to immerse yourself in a new learning opportunity. If that feels counterintuitive, let me explain.
I have been longing to take an online class about storytelling for over a year. I’ve had every intention of doing it when “things slowed down a bit.” But we all know how that works out. I decided that although summer feels more busy, that during the week it gets very quiet in my email and voicemail boxes every Thursday and Friday. The weekends are still jam-packed with family reunions, time at the lake, or work around the house…but Thursdays and Fridays might just be the “slow time” I’ve been planning for!
So, here’s my plan.
Commitment: I’ve purchased the online class. Right after the transaction was complete, I blocked the next three Thursdays and Fridays in my calendar with “TRAINING.” Now, everyone with access to my calendar will know that I have prioritized a training opportunity. No one needs to know that it’s at my desk and not some fancy conference in San Diego! Because if it were, it would undoubtedly be a priority, right? Well, so is this training.
You TAKE Time: You don’t make time for things; instead, you take time. And with my plan, placing this item on my calendar will help me and everyone else know that it is happening.
Develop a Ritual: When I was in grad school working towards my Master’s Degree, one of the things that helped me get through my program is that I had several rituals that set me up for success. I had a clean spot in my home to focus only on the lesson. I had my favorite iced or hot coffee concoction right next to me. And I lit a candle–lemon scented in the summer and warm vanilla in the winter. Once my classical Pandora station was fired up, it was as if my brain opened up. So, clean off your desk. Get your favorite beverage. Put in headphones if that floats your boat.
Don’t change anything else: It’ll be tempting to sleep in or schedule a lunch that becomes a stop at Target and then happy-hour if I don’t treat my learning days the same as I do my regular work day. Even if you feel like you have to take a few days of vacation time to complete your summer learning goals, don’t take the kids out of their summer routine. Keep them in their day camp or daycare. Get up and get dressed. You are in TRAINING, remember!
Reward Yourself: I know I’m going to be very excited to implement my new storytelling skills in my social media work to help my clients tell better stories. But I also know that I might be tempted just to take that one phone call or schedule that one meeting during my days of training. I plan on rewarding myself by ordering those sunglasses that seem to be just a bit out of my typical price range. How can you reward yourself and honor your commitment to learning?
Implement immediately: I have a social campaign I am planning with one of my clients that I know will utilize my new-found skills. Not only will implementing my new strategies as soon as possible make it worth my investment, but it’ll also help me take any theoretical learning and make it concrete, so I retain more.
What are the trainings or learning opportunities you’ve been putting off? Have you been thinking about getting certified through NISM but haven’t made it a priority? Or, maybe you need to get that continuing education completed to keep your certifications up-to-date. Summer can be a great time to make it happen!
Author: Megan Tsui
As a business consultant for over 15 years, Megan Tsui has helped everyone from micro-businesses to multi-million dollar companies meet and exceed their goals. Megan has a Bachelor of Arts in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. In 2014, she founded Unleashed Ventures, LLC, a company with two markets: one, providing strategy and business development for local businesses through Unleashed Strategy Consultants, and two, an international online business called UnleaSHEd that supports women entrepreneurs. Megan lives in Red Wing, MN with her husband Kent and their cats and dogs. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn, or Twitter
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