If I were to ask my youngest daughter this very question, I’m sure I would be inundated with examples of new topics covered in school and new skills developed on the sports field or in the art room. Unfortunately, as we grow older, our appetite for learning often begins to wane. Before you know it, you can become so focused on managing the day-to-day, that all thought of self-development goes out the window and that negative voice inside your head tells you to prioritise those looming deadlines instead of developing your skills at work.
This week marks Learning at Work Week, a reminder to everyone of the importance of honing your commercial skills so that you can stand out from the competition and deliver real business success, after all, as Albert Einstein so wisely said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” So as a highly qualified coach and EQ practitioner who has helped transform more than 2500 people into commercial athletes, here are the three most common learning myths and how to banish them:
The Top 3 Learning Myths And How to Banish Them:
Myth #1 “You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks”
The longer you have 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 due to the fear of change, “It’s too late in my career, to start learning new tools and techniques now”. However, believe this learning myth at your peril! Given today’s challenging trading conditions, it’s more important than ever to keep your skillset up–to–date so you can adapt to the rapid pace of change. Just as a world-class athlete continually strives to achieve the extraordinary, so you need to keep raising the bar in the business world in order 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. According to Dr Martyn Newman, 45% of your job success is down to your EQ, clearly showing just how important it is to take the time to develop these so called “soft” skills. Developing your EQ skills will enable you to adapt to new ways of working, build strong relationships with colleagues and clients, encourage you to set long-term goals and help you 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 I’m not suggesting that you spend 10,000 hours learning to become a master negotiator or expert presenter, however, it does clearly shows that you need commitment, hard work and practice to develop your commercial life skills. Be inspired by Olympic athletes such as Mo Farah and Usain Bolt and the hours of time they dedicate to training to make sure they are at the top of the game, after all as the saying goes, “there is no practice in glory, but without practice there is no glory.”
My final piece of advice is to ask for support from those around you to help kick-start your learning journey. Just as world-class athletes rely on a team of coaches to help them become the very best that they can be, so you need to draw on the resources available to you to help you develop your commercial skills. So whether it’s getting feedback from a colleague, setting achievable goals with an executive coach or attending a conference, have the confidence to banish these learning myths once and for all so you can achieve your commercial personal best.