Last month, I talked a bit about getting outside your comfort zone; in the same trend, today I thought we’d talk about the importance of learning new skills and how you can do that.
If you’re learning, you’re growing – and growth is always what we want for ourselves, both personally and professionally. Here are some tips when you’re thinking about growing your skill set.
Ever find yourself caught in routine? It can be easy to stick to what you know - you’ve already mastered it, so why rock the boat!
Well, you’d be surprised. Here are 7 reasons why you should step outside of the box every once in a while.
1. What do you already know and where does that lead you?
You already have plenty of skills. Take stock of your repertoire and ask yourself, “Is there something missing here?”
For example, if you know you’re good at spreadsheets and crunching numbers, maybe the natural next step is to learn how to run Google Analytics. If you’re comfortable writing Facebook ads and newsletters, maybe you want to try your hand at writing an email campaign or even managing an email campaign!
When you evaluate your skills, you may notice that there is a natural next step you may take to round out your skillset and become a "Master" in something.
On the other hand, maybe you want to try something completely new – that’s fine too! But, the first step is to always look at what you already know.
2. What exactly do you need to know?
Having an end goal will help guide you as you figure out how to chase it. You can figure out the ideal way to learn and practice a skill by giving it a name at the end of this journey (the actual skill you want and how you want to use it).
If you’re already familiar with the skill you want to master, you may be able to break it down into smaller goals so that you can track your progress (like chapters in a book or sections of a test). However, if you’re really starting from nothing, that’s okay too! Just have words to describe what you want; otherwise, it will be easy to be knocked off course.
3. Where will you learn this skill?
Once you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can search it up!
There are some things you can learn on the job, but if you’re flying solo or striving for your own independent growth, it’s a good idea to look to an expert.
Training sites like HubSpot have plenty of tutorials and lesson plans that will help you learn the basics of whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. If you’re looking for hands-on experience with a particular system or functionality, most sites will have their own tutorials, and of course, you can always crowdsource advice for those tools that don’t come with instructions.
4. How will you practice?
Some things require you to just go in and get your hands dirty – click through the website and learn the layout, play around with the design function on the illustrator, walk through the end-to-end process of loading ads and organizing a campaign.
Other skills, you just have to get a feel for it through repetition – for example, practice writing long-form emails, review, and write them again, so that you get the feel for the boxes you need to tick to be successful.
5. What does an expert look like in this skill?
It never hurts to look and see what’s working! Taking after someone you know who really knows this skill can help guide you in the right direction, inspire you to practice, and confirm you when you’ve got it in hand.
6. How will you know when you’re done?
When you’re learning a new skill, sometimes it’s very obvious when it “clicks” for you. Suddenly, this thing is second nature, you know all the tricks, and you feel satisfied that you’ve mastered this new skill.
Other times, it can be less obvious. You might always feel that you have more space to grow. And that’s perfectly fine too! To be honest, you should always be reassessing yourself and making sure you know your stuff so that your skills don’t fall behind. It’s like stretching old muscles; if you neglect them, they get weaker, and you can no longer do that thing that was once so easy for you.
7. And then what?
Put it into practice! Take that new skill and find a way to incorporate it into your work. By constantly expanding your knowledge and expertise, you show that you’re ready to take on anything and you’re excited to constantly bring the best out of yourself.
And then you do it all over again with something new.
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Written by Jordan McAndrew