If you’ve met me in person, you’ll know how passionate I am about business. I can nerd out on business conversations without coming up for air, and research online for hours on end. There’s always so much to learn, and the world is changing at a rapid pace.
My first job was in my local McDonalds store, and one of Ray Croc’s quotes was shared with us often – “If you’re green you’re growing. If you’re ripe you’re rotten”. This is why I have always believed in the importance of self education.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve run several successful businesses in the retail and coaching fields. I love to learn and excel in whatever I choose to do, so have hired numerous coaches and mentors along the way. Isaac Newton sums it up beautifully with his quote, “If I’ve seen further than others, it’s from standing on the shoulders of giants”.
However, over the past couple of years I’ve noticed a big issue.
Business owners hire coaches and join business growth programs because they want to grow their business and increase their results. For some of these people, they don’t experience the results they were hoping for, and don’t see their incomes increase. But then these same business owners are afraid of speaking up and asking for help in case they look stupid. So they hide their problems from the exact people they have hired to help them because they feel ashamed. As their business underperforms, they continue to think “there is something I’m missing – I need to learn more”. So they move on to the next workshop. The next mentor. The next program.
From spending time in a few different business communities over the past few years, I’ve watched many friends spiral into depression and wear a cloak of shame, born from feeling like a failure. They feel like they’re the only one who can’t ‘make it happen’, while it seems like everyone around them are kicking goals at every turn. To them it feels like ‘those other people’ don’t seem to be working ridiculous hours, they’re not constantly chained to their business and they’re bringing in a tonne of cash.
Many years ago I was studying for my teaching Diploma in classical ballet. My mentor was a highly qualified examiner, and her wealth of knowledge was vast. It didn’t matter what I asked her, she not only had the answer every time, but could explain with the most intimate detail. When I began working with her, I had already been teaching for a few years – I thought I had a pretty good handle on this teaching deal. However, the more I worked with her and the more my knowledge increased, the more I realised I DIDN’T know. She made me see a world of questions I didn’t previously know existed. I see a similar problem in the world of business. People who are investing many hours of their time into self education and learning about the latest and greatest thing, realise there is so much more to learn. But the world is changing at such a rapid pace that this will always be the case.
There are two types of learning.
1) Just In Case Learning – Studying, researching and learning about everything under the sun. Whether or not it’s what you need at the time. People who learn using this style use ‘perfectionism’ as an excuse. They say things like, “It’s not perfect”. “I can’t put it out into the world. I need to know more”. “I don’t know enough”. However, this is just procrastination at it’s finest, and is worn to cover the mask of fear – the fear of putting your ‘thing’ out in to the world.
2) Just In Time Learning – This is learning just enough to get the job you need, done. This will be followed up with the next layer of learning, which is customer feedback. This is a much better option, because you’re not delivering your version of perfect which the customer may not even want. You’re delivering something, and using your paying customers feedback to constantly improve to their liking. This in turn should bring in more sales.
Just in case learners are holding themselves back from the biggest thing which will have them increasing their income.
What I’m NOT saying is don’t immerse yourself in self education. “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”, and I’m a massive believer in always be learning.
What I AM saying is learn just enough to get your ‘thing’ out into the big, wide world, and then combine this with your own personalised learning, as it gets fed back to you by your customers.
Because self education doesn’t equal income, until it’s followed up by action.