This week marks Learning at Work Week, a reminder of the importance of honing your commercial skills so that you can stand out from the competition. As you grow older, your appetite for learning often begins to wane. Before you know it, you can become so focused on managing the day-to-day, that all thoughts of self-development go out the window. So, adopt a growth mind-set and carve out some time to develop new skills, for as Henry Ford wisely said, “Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
We’ve debunked three of the most common learning myths to help you kickstart your journey:
Myth #1 “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”
The longer you’ve been in your career, the more tempting it can be to underestimate the true value of training. This can sometimes be down to complacency – “I’ve been in sales for more than 20 years what else do I need to know?” or the fear of change – “It’s too late in my career, to start learning new tools and techniques now”. Given today’s challenging conditions, it’s more important than ever to keep your skill-set up-to-date to help you adapt to the rapid pace of change. Just as world-class athletes continually strive to achieve the extraordinary, so you need to keep raising the bar in the business world to drive your commercial performance.
Myth #2 “You’re either born with EQ or you’re not”
People often mistakenly believe that your EQ – those set of emotional and social skills that are most effective at influencing others – are set in stone like your IQ, when in fact they can be developed and nurtured over time. Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” clearly showing how important it is to take the time to develop these so called “soft” skills. Developing your EQ enables you to adapt to new ways of working, build strong relationships with colleagues and clients, set long-term goals and be resilient in times of adversity.
Myth #3 “You can master a new skill overnight”
According to the 10,000 hour rule, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a new skill. Now we’re not suggesting that you spend 10,000 hours learning how to become a master negotiator or expert presenter, however, it does clearly show that you need commitment, hard work and practice to develop new skills. Remember, as the saying goes, “there is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory.”
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help as you learn something new – whether it’s getting feedback from a colleague, asking advice from a mentor or setting achievable goals with a coach. Have the confidence to banish these myths once and for all, so you can take control of your learning and achieve the extraordinary.