A leader NEVER stops learning. The legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden once said, “When you’re through learning, your through.” I’d say that pretty much sums it up.
Too many people graduate from collage with their degree in one hand and an unhealthy sense of entitlement in the other. They feel as though the need to keep investing in themselves is over, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, the man who isn’t willing to go the second mile will always be passed by the one who will.
[shareable]The man who isn’t willing to go the second mile will always be passed by the one who will.[/shareable]
While earning your degree is a tremendous accomplishment, the only thing that diploma really proves is how much you’ve invested yourself “so far.” Below are 5 of the most practical ways that you, the leader can keep investing in yourself and cultivating your leadership potential:
God only gave you one mouth, but He gave you two ears. Maybe it’s time that we take hint and do more listening and less talking. Personally, I grow weary of leaders who come to me asking for advice and then spend the entire time taking. Be quick to hear and slow to speak, after all, it’s hard to learn when you’re the one whose always talking.
Engage people that will challenge you to grow as a leader. Build relationships with people who are smarter than you, more talented than you, and more experienced than you. Remember that truly talented people already have high demands on their time so don’t expect them to come looking for you. Take it upon yourself to pick up the phone, knock on doors and find a mentor that’s going to challenge you to grow as leader.
Never stop asking questions. When you’re around other leaders ask them practical questions like “How did you do that?” “Why did you do it that way?” and “Where did you learn how to do that?” Leaders stop learning when they assume that they already have the answers to their own questions. So humble yourself, ask questions, and record their answers in a journal or note taking app like Evernote so that you can review it and, listen closely – PUT IT INTO PRACTICE. If all you do is learn it without applying it you run the risk of “always learning…” but “…never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).
I know you’ve heard it before, but let me say it again, “While not all readers are leaders, all leaders are readers!” Read books, blogs, and articles that are related to the areas of life and leadership where you know that you need to grow (Career, Ministry, Marriage, Money, Relationship with God, etc). Reading enables you to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Remember, you can’t lead differently until you start to think differently and nothing helps you to think differently like reading.
Don’t limit yourself by only connecting with people who do what you do. That kind of networking IS extremely valuable, but if you want to really stimulate your creativity than get outside of your industry/ministry and connect with people in fields unrelated to your own. Jesus networked with fishermen, tax collectors, administrative professionals, and yes, even former prostitutes.
Let’s recap the “5 Ways” that leaders can keep learning:
- Listen to other leaders.
- Engage other leaders.
- Ask Questions of other leaders.
- Read material written by other leaders.
- Network with other leaders (but be diversified).
What are some of the ways you’ve personally kept investing in yourself? I’d love to hear back form you in the comments section below.
Until next time, Keep Cultivating your purpose!