Resolved! Never make resolutions again!
No doubt you have been encouraged to set new year resolutions or goals for yourself. In fact, you’re getting tired of reading about new year resolutions and goals in all of the blogs and newsletters coming out this month. You may even be tired of the latest fad, “what’s your one word for the year?”
Yeah, me too. So, I will not trifle you with what you need to do to really achieve something significant this year. I will, however, challenge you to think about how you can achieve something significant long-term by becoming a life-long LEARNER and LEADER! What?! Go back to school? No way. Correct. No way.
Being a life-long learner has been really easy for me as my top strength is Learner (as determined by the StrengthFinders assessment). Of course, I knew this already as learning has been in my DNA my entire life. My family tells me that their earliest memories of me were of me walking around with a book in my hand; at least when it wasn’t a baseball in my hand.
What I mean by life-long learner is how you take “curiosity and intent” forward in a way that helps you grow to your God-given purpose and potential.
Here are three ways that my mentor, John Maxwell, showed me to become a life-long learner-leader:
- Leaders are readers
- Your potential is determined by those who are closest to you
- You develop daily, not in a day
Leaders are readers. This has two different meanings from a learner-leader perspective, but both are related to the same root of curiosity. First, if you are a continuous learner, you will do a lot of reading.
New books, new blogs, magazine articles, research reports, etc. I am constantly looking to where the world is going so that I know how I fit in and where I need to lead people to. Last year I read (or listened to) 60 books, that’s more than one per week. How about you?
Secondly, as a continuous learner, I enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. They bring different life experiences and perspectives that I need if I am going to lead effectively. Some are just passing acquaintances that I learn one thing from. Others become friends who share experiences and thinking that help me shape my own thoughts. As I “read” the situations and experiences I’m having with different people, I learn to lead more effectively. Who have you met that is helping you to be a better leader and learner?
Your potential is determined by those who are closest to you. This is a continuation of reading situations as you surround yourself with people you can learn from. The people I hang out with most often have a huge impact in how my beliefs get turned into behaviors and results. There is also some research that says friends of my friends impact me more than I know. If you hang out with people who have unhealthy habits, you are likely to develop the same habits and become unhealthy, and vice versa. So, when you think about that inner circle of friends and colleagues, make sure they represent who you want to be as that is the potential you are creating for yourself. How careful are you in selecting those who are closest to you? Is it time for a change?
You develop daily, not in a day. And finally, we are back to the life-long issue. Growing your capabilities and capacity, and your long-term potential in order to live out your purpose does not happen overnight. You don’t suddenly have this great experience or attend a fantastic conference or read a stimulating book or attend a dynamic training program and POOF! you are now a more effective leader. No, it’s all of those things and all of the little things you do every day to help you learn and grow that make the difference. You have to be intentional about how you spend your time. You have to be intentional about what you read and learn. You have to be intentional about who you spend time with and how you spend that time with them. You have to be intentional about every day. What have you set out to learn today? Who have you determined to learn from today?
When someone now asks you, did you make a new year resolution? Just say no, I resolved to learn something new every day, to be intentional about developing as a leader every day, and to take my entire life to be an effective learner and leader. How about you?