“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you will go.”
As a curious soul who loves to learn, the Dr Seuss quote above is one I come back to time and time again. And in the often difficult and certainly unexpected year of 2020, it has never felt more relevant to me.
Like so many others my working world completely changed in March 2020. As a facilitator and coach, I had always mainly worked with individuals or groups in person. And I loved the energy and connection that gave me. With lockdown that suddenly was not an option and very quickly I was staring at an empty work diary wondering how I was going to continue to do the work I loved.
This has really transformed leadership learning for 2021.
The shift to online or virtual learning took a few months but by May requests were coming through and I had to focus my efforts on learning quickly, like many others I had to:
- Learn how to use Zoom,
- Learn how to translate most of my working content to a virtual environment,
- Learn how to keep sessions engaging and interesting,
- Learn how to build rapport with my team or a group of new people through a screen, widening my knowledge of certain subject areas.
The list of things to learn goes on…
What I soon noticed was that having a need to learn helped both my productivity and focus. Having felt a bit lost when lockdown began, I was motivated to achieve things again. I also know from the work I do on wellbeing that learning new things also results in our brains producing Dopamine (a happy chemical). So spending the time building my skills to help me deliver virtually also had a positive effect on my mental wellbeing, making me feel more optimistic and hopeful about the future.
When I look back on 2020 I do not really feel like there is much I would like to dwell on. Lockdown (x2), restrictions, not seeing loved ones are all things I would rather leave behind. But I do think positively about all the things I have learnt. And I can see that my learning has evolved in two ways – by reading and attending training courses as well as by putting my new skills into practice and learning from others around me.
Covid 19 has certainly changed the world we live in significantly and many of us will have already had to adapt our skillset to survive this year. 2021 will undoubtedly bring more change again to how we live and work.
I believe that the best way evolve and thrive in the workplace is to continually commit to developing and expanding your skillset. Learning new perspectives and skills in all sorts of areas such Leadership, Sales and Marketing, Digital or Business could make all the difference to both your personal success as well as the success of the business you work for.
So, as I start January 2021 (and knowing I am bound to have a bit more time on my hands due to local restrictions) I’m going to start to identify the new skills that will help me navigate the next year, as well thinking about things I can do to build on things I have learnt this year.
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Associate tutor of In Professional Development