Six Affordable Ways to Keep Growing

Kids head back to school every fall, but most are looking forward to graduation. Some leaders, like under-motivated high students, believe that graduating from high school or college means they have “arrived” and now have no need to study.

The highest achievers, however, are always lifelong learners.

You may no longer ride the school bus, but you will grow faster, achieve more, and create greater impact if you dedicate yourself to the pursuit of lifelong learning.

No time? Little money? Here are six achievable, affordable ways to keep yourself intellectually sharp.

  1. Read a book. 

Your local library is free to use and has a wealth of resources. If they do not have a title you’re interested in, request that the library buy it. Many will do so if a patron requests it.

Tip: Read for 30 minutes each day. You can find that much time, and it will add up quickly.

  1. Follow authoritative blogs. 

You’re likely to find that leaders in your field are also blogging, giving away dozens of great ideas, tips, and trends for free. Look for the “social media proof” on their blog site—if hundreds or thousands are reading that blog, it may be worth your time.

Tip: Subscribe by email or RSS to have fresh content delivered to your inbox. 

  1. Listen to audio books.  

If you commute or exercise frequently, this is a no-brainer. Make productive use of your time by listening while you drive, walk, or jog. Many current titles—and classics—are available in digital audio.

Tip: Find out if your local library subscribes to a digital audio service, and borrow audio books for free. 

  1. Create a mentoring group. 

Attending a multi-day conference out of town can cost up to $1,000 in registration, travel, and accommodations. But you can gather some sharp minds closer to home for a monthly or quarterly mentoring group. Discuss a book you’ve read, share ideas, discover best practices. All it takes is a leader to get it started.

Tip: Aim for a group of four to six, and ask for a minimum commitment of six months. 

  1. Attend a lecture. 

Universities, libraries, churches, and civic groups routinely offer learning opportunities to the public, often free of charge. If you live in or near a college town, you’ll find more than you can possibly attend.

Tip: Google “things to do in (your city)” to find dozens of free cultural events.

  1. Ask an expert. 

Learned people are often very generous with their expertise. Can you think of someone in your field you’d like to learn from? Invite them to lunch as your guest. Don’t say, “I’d like to pick your brain.” Say, “I’d like to learn from you, and I have three specific questions.” Then make them count.

Tip: Always pick up the check in gratitude for your friend’s time and attention. 

What about you? How have you seen wisdom—or foolishness—show up in your leadership? What advice would you give to a young leader just starting out?

I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter.

StanAToler

 

 

 

 


 

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