Okay, I know I’m late, but I’m Declaring 2018 “The Year of Discovery”!
In my defense, I’ve been traveling – a lot. My Swarm app tells me I’ve been to Chicago O’Hare nine weeks in a row. My brain cells haven’t been in the same time zone for months. Some people hate to travel, I’m not in that group. I love travel, discovery and all the adventures (good and bad) that it brings. Ultimately, I’m discovering new people and places.
There is a joy in discovering a new restaurant or finding out your Uber driver’s story. Not to mention the discovery of how much one can fit into a carry-on bag! (Answer: More than you think!) I’ve always considered myself to be a curious person. When I travel, Google maps in hand, I try to find time to just wander. I read. I talk to people. So, when I was thinking of the theme for this year, “Discovery” seemed a natural fit.
I’ve been in L&D for over 20. Yikes, I’m old!
Life and progress are all about discovery. There are things I have learned about myself that are both amazing and thought-provoking. There are things I celebrate and things I want to kick myself over. Without that sense of internal discovery, I wouldn’t be able to move forward.
Lifelong learning is about that sense of discovery. Remember, being a Learning Rebel is about curiosity, challenging the status quo and courage of conviction. All of which has its foundations in discovery. This year we are taking a journey into self-discovery. Not to be confused with self-improvement, which will most likely be an outcome – but I would like to focus on the journey. What will we discover about ourselves? How will we apply what we have learned?
In my “Lifelong Learning” post we discussed these 5 points:
Challenge conventional thinking
Build on your skills
Take time for self-reflection
Incorporating these points into your journey of discovery will be critical. Discovery is all about outcomes. We challenge ourselves and we make a discovery. Based on that discovery something happens. How will you use this new knowledge to continue to grow, learn and improve? How will you use your discovery to innovate, to challenge, and inspire?
Build your strengths, not your weaknesses
We don’t often have the chance to do the best we can do every day. We spend a lot of time putting out fires and trying to fill the knowledge/skill gaps. This is why this year is NOT about self-improvement. We already spend precious minutes and hours building anxiety over our perceived shortcomings. Let’s build on our strengths! To steal from a popular book title, “Now, Discover Your Strengths“. It’s from understanding where we are strong is where progress occurs. Discover what you do well, then do more of THAT.
This is not to say we should neglect our gaps. Have you ever asked yourself, “WHY did I do that?” Yep. Me too. Many times. However, it’s far too easy to focus on the things we aren’t accomplishing or doing well and granted it’s important to realize and address those gaps. That said, I would state that filling the gaps means surrounding ourselves with those whose strengths are our gaps.
There are MANY areas in my life that could be improved. I could take a class in accounting, photoshop, or website development. But I know those are not my strengths or my passion. This is why I have Ed, Fiverr, and Nick. They help fill my gaps, so I can focus on my strengths and build my knowledge and business.
Find your strengths
When you focus on areas you are already good at, you build your business acumen – be that the business of workplace learning, training development or the business of you. Your strengths are the key to your success. This means, focusing on our strengths means we first have to find those strengths. Not every strength is glaringly apparent. You know you are good at something…we all are…but what is “it”? To kick us off, here are three tips for discovering a strength:
- Do you get excited? When doing “that thing you do” do you feel excited? Do you feel motivated and energized? Do you feel happy when “the thing” is completed? You may struggle but it’s a good struggle.
- Take notice of what you do differently from others. Do you tackle problems in a different way to gain success? Are you doing something that makes you stand out? When you plant tomatoes are your tomatoes the biggest and best tasting? When you are tasked to create elearning designs are yours the most engaging and interactive? Do people tell you that you tell THE BEST stories?
- Do you use failure as motivation? When I bake a cake and it comes out funky, I’m motivated to try it again. When I write a blog post and the results aren’t positive, I want to dig in and find out why. Are you the same way about something? Are you up until all hours trying to find that one “thing” that will solve the problem in front of you? That means you want to develop your strength area. (Baking is a strength, and it bugs me when something doesn’t turn out…I swear I’m going to perfect Canneles if it KILLS ME!)
While learning about your strengths is a great exercise, it is of little value if you do nothing about it. In this case, share. Find others who share your strengths. It will improve your life, and perhaps improve the life of someone around you.
I challenge us all to make Friday our day to post something we have discovered about ourselves or about the world around us. I’ll create a post for the Learning Rebels Facebook page each Friday starting on 3/9/2018, and I hope you contribute. Learning Rebels takes a village. Be part of the movement.
In the comments below, let’s get the ball rolling. What have you discovered about yourself that has been surprising?
For me, it was the discovery of latent sentimentality. I was surprised on a recent trip to New York, that I found myself all misty-eyed when I was viewing the Statue of Liberty. I was surprised at the emotion that bubbled up. Why? I’m not sure, perhaps it is the idea of people who took a huge risk to come to a country they knew little about, to discover a new way of life. To imagine a better life for themselves. Sigh.