I have recently taken to Zoom to continue to teach and coach individuals and groups. Admittedly, this is because I have little choice if I am to continue to reach out and help people improve their skills, set goals, and ultimately succeed. For many people, they can in turn continue to conduct their business to receive a paycheck, and keeping sharp on your skills as well as the needs of your customers is just as important as it ever was.
However, because much of the time we used to spend traveling to work or to meet with clients, or even to grab a bite to eat, isn’t necessary, we end up with extra time on our hands. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” and while I’m not here to shake a finger at you, I will ask you to think before your decide to spend an entire evening with Netflix.
Instead, revisit your goals and think beyond what might be there already, now that you have this unique opportunity to learn more. Here are just a few ideas, and perhaps they may spark an idea or two of your own. The internet is a vast place, so dream a little and imagines how you could use this learning to supplement your current skill set. When you are finally able to fully engage with people in real life, it will be the edge you need to literally come out of the gate sprinting.
You most likely speak English fluently, and for many in my circle, possibly Yiddish. However, those languages were likely learned as you were a youngster. What about now?
Experts will tell you that it doesn’t matter your age when you start, but learning a new language is a great way to improve your brain function. I’d have to think that something like this is even more important to do as we get older and we tend to lose our mental sharpness, our ability to concentrate and remember details. How important does that become when you’re working with many people, juggling schedules and priorities, and having to maintain the focus to organize it all?
The second obvious benefit is that you gain the ability to communicate with people who speak that language. According to Babbel, which offers such language learning online, 43 million people in the US speak Spanish as a first language. How valuable would it be, then, to become fluent to reach people in that demographic? Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but if you ever want to travel and get along better in a foreign country, what language would be helpful?
Life Skills and Personal Development
While of course I am going to recommend you contact me to start looking at yourself more deeply in order to improve yourself with coaching, I know the value in learning across the spectrum. I too have many resources to draw from to stay on the path of continuous learning. We are never finished, but that’s an exciting concept, because there’s always something better we can be.
I have learned much from the John Maxwell Team about mentoring, teaching and coaching. His group offers people the opportunity to learn on many levels. If you are someone that is truly out of work, however, and have a very tight budget, use whatever free tools are offered, even if it is a daily podcast or message on YouTube.
If you are someone who leads people, or wants to understand why you do the things you do, and how to improve it, I am also a student of TTI Success Insights. I use their assessment tools when I coach my clients, usually before we even get started. You can learn a lot about how to work smarter, more efficiently and more productively when you can understand your motivators as well as your challenges. Assessments give you that insight, and it’s those “Aha!” moments that can really help you succeed through self-awareness.
A few others worth mentioning are Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, and Simon Sinek (who wrote “Start with Why”, but there are a host of others. Find at least two that resonate with you, that inspire and challenge you. There isn’t a right or wrong answer necessarily, but make sure you can map and measure results if you follow any of these.
You can teach an old dog new tricks. And when you’ve been falling behind your competition because of a skills gap of some sort, it’s time you learned and mastered them while you’re no longer able to spend time at a restaurant or shopping mall.
Maybe it’s a formal class in business skills, or even the master’s program you never seemed to get around to completing. They’re all online now. Of course, these are not free generally, but it’s worth starting a search to find low-cost options to take a course in accounting or sales software, communications, marketing — you name it. You may even find free resources through your library. They’re more than just books these days.
One resource in particular is lynda.com... this has a host of topics you can tap into, particularly if you want to learn how to use tools like PowerPoint, Excel, Word, or other database programs that you’ve seen listed as desirable skills needed in that job you wanted to apply for. This site also has tutorials that you can download the “homework” for to really learn and sharpen your skills.
Overall, the idea is to keep your head in the game and stay mentally sharp. While many people describe our current situation as a crisis and there is a LOT of discouraging news out there, make no mistake. How you approach this unique time in history is your choice. Learn something in it, and it becomes a fantastic OPPORTUNITY.