The active pursuit of knowledge and experience, called lifelong learning, is a leading cause of happiness! Lifelong learning has many benefits including:
- Creating opportunity
- Discovering solutions
- Building relationships
- Connecting to community
- Inspiring a better world
- Developing a unique identity
- Improving confidence
- Mastering new skills
- Nurturing positive change
- Realizing a better you!
Essentially, personal and professional development as methods of lifelong learning create personal satisfaction! The awesome effects of development happen in the experience you have along the way. While the results are also great, the real gifts happen in the process of learning.
I have always loved learning and I look forward to continuing my growth and development as long as I live. Learning makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger; it makes me feel more alive! In addition, my professional success can be attributed to my passion for learning as I’ve continually gained new skills and experience and stayed current on new technologies.
There are many opportunities to learn and the best path to growth is to learn by doing. If you’re motivated to achieve personal and professional improvement, here are some ways to develop your mind, body, and spirit.
Lifelong learning starts with curiosity. Ask questions! Challenge yourself to wonder why and discover the answers.
You’ll experience more joy and passion in life if you allow your curiosity to spark thoughtful living and personal development.
Read about topics that interest you, whether you are already comfortable with the topic or not. There’s a wealth of information in books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs.
Libraries and blogs are wonderful and free resources for information and knowledge sharing.
A great way to learn new skills is to volunteer to do a job you don’t know how to do. By the end of your service you’ll surely know something you didn’t know before, and you have the chance to give back to your community in the process!
Check out Volunteer Match for volunteer opportunities in your area.
Join a club
There are many personal and professional organizations and clubs centered around unique skill-sets and topics that provide the opportunity to participate and learn.
Find professional associations in your profession or industry, or join a club like Toastmasters International that offers great communication and leadership skills for anyone and everyone. Discover personal interest groups at Meetup.
Start a conversation
If you know a little about a topic and want to know more, join the discussion online.
Find a mentor
Mentoring is a fantastic way to network and grow. A mentor is an experienced professional that guides a protege by offering tailored advice and insight into the protege’s desired career path.
Some organizations have a mentoring program available to employees or members. You can also find someone you know and ask them to mentor you. Find a mentor that has something you want, like expertise or opportunity.
Take a class
There are many low-cost classes available through community colleges and local government programs.
Check out your local Workforce Center or Chamber of Commerce for educational programs available in your area.
Writing a blog is a great way to learn more about a specific topic and share the knowledge you’ve gained with others! You don’t have to blog about what you know- you can blog about learning as you go.
The most important aspect of lifelong learning is to have fun! After all, if you’re not enjoying it, why are you doing it?
I love your comments! What’s your favorite method of lifelong learning? How else do you grow personally and professionally?
Image courtesy of Mark Brannan.Join the Conversation
I couldn’t be more excited to attend the amazing BlissDom Conference next month in Nashville, Tennessee and get my bliss on! Although this will be my First Bliss, I am preparing to make the most of it and have an awesome conference experience!
Attending conferences provides excellent opportunities for networking, training, and personal and professional development. Whether your employer or business partner is sponsoring you, or you’re paying your own way, you can increase the value of your conference experience with a little preparation. After all, why spend your money, time and energy on activities that don’t fully enrich your life?
Here are a few tips to improve your conference experience:
Before the Conference
Network, connect, engage.
Connecting with other attendees before the event is a great way to meet new people, build stronger connections, and break the ice.
Some ways to network before the conference include attending organization programs and meetings, following and participating in the conference hashtag on Twitter, and RSVPing to the event on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media.
Practice your elevator speech.
Be prepared to tell people what’s important to know about you! The goal is to describe yourself in 1 – 3 sentences.
What are you passionate about? In what way are you unique and amazing? If you had a tag line, what would it be?
Order business cards.
Exchanging business cards is a great way to follow up your elevator speech with a powerful branding statement and provide your contact information. Don’t settle for boring business cards- let your cards reflect your passion and purpose!
Set your development goals.
To get the most out of your conference, decide what you want to take away from the event. Perhaps you want to make 5 new contacts, meet a particular speaker or sponsor, or learn a specific skill.
Consider what you truly want to achieve and make your goals a priority during the excitement of the event.
At the Conference
Bring a pen and paper to sessions.
We all love technology, however I prefer to minimize distractions and take notes with good old fashioned paper and pen. Keeping it simple helps me focus on what I’m there to learn.
Move your body
Get up and move to another seat between sessions. Don’t stay camped out in the same spot the entire conference. Moving around you energizes your body and mind, and provides more opportunity to make connections.
Make progress on your goals.
Meet the people you wanted to meet, and attend the sessions you wanted to attend. Keep your goals in mind throughout the event. You don’t have to participate in every event to have a great conference experience, instead focus on making progress towards your goals.
Talk to strangers.
Approaching new people can be intimidating, but I encourage you to make good use of your artfully crafted and well practiced elevator speech. You can start by taking a deep breath and saying, “hello”.
Smiling improves your mood, and the mood of those around you. It also makes you far more approachable and open to others. Whenever you can, smile. Chances are you’ll get more out of your conference with a smile than without.
Take care of yourself.
There’s often so much going on at conferences it can be easy to skip meals, indulge in caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, and stay up all night. Don’t forget to take care of you!
Leave home at home and work at work.
You may get caught up thinking about important people or projects at home and cause yourself unnecessary stress. Avoid worrying about work and home and make the most of the experience you’re having in the moment.
Life is an adventure; don’t forget to have fun at everything you do!
I love your comments! What other conference tips do you have to share?
If you’re attending BlissDom, please introduce yourself. I’d love to connect with you!Join the Conversation
Have you dreamed of quitting your job and risking it all in pursuit of your dream career? I encourage every one of you to pursue passion and purpose in your career without buying into the idea that your life will be great when… when you get a promotion, when you get a raise, when you finally have the career you’ve always wanted.
Your happiness at work isn’t a result of an ideal work situation, it’s the result of your mindset and attitude. Choose to be happy and create love in your work-life today.
You can get the most of the career you have now and find contentment and happiness in your work-life. Dare to dream and explore, just not at the expense of your present joy.
You can love your work-life through active participation and engagement. Here are some tips to love the work-life you have:
Take advantage of training opportunities.
Find out what training opportunities your employer offers and take advantage of them. Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement? What about internal training programs? Does your company sponsor membership in professional associations?
Training opportunities engage you in learning and loving your career. They build confidence and increase commitment.
Find a mentor.
If you know someone that has what you seek in your own career, ask them to mentor you. A mentor works with you one-on-one in your career development, sharing knowledge and resources and supporting you in your career goals.
Sharing your experience and career success with a protégé builds leadership skills, and allows you to gain perspective through the eyes of your protégé.
Mentoring others can help you track your career progress and build your confidence.
Do your best work.
If you’re not passionate about your job it can be easy to check out, doing only the minimal amount of effort to get the job done.
Challenge yourself to do your best work every day. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and you’re efforts will likely gain notice of people who can help you achieve your goals.
Track your accomplishments.
Keeping track of your professional accomplishments will help you recognize your strengths, as well as increasing your confidence in your abilities.
As an added bonus, you can leverage your accomplishments in your performance review and during salary and job negotiations.
Volunteer for special projects and assignments.
Build your skills by volunteering for special projects and assignments.
You will feel more engaged in your job if you have challenge and variety in your work, and you’ll have the opportunity to exercise problem solving techniques.
Build positive, friendly relationships with your co-workers. Not only are your co-workers part of your professional network, having a friend at work will help you reduce stress and provide opportunity to have fun at work.
Participating in committees, groups and teams will increase your engagement at work. You will have a voice, learn how the company works, and raise your visibility.
A positive attitude goes a long way, especially in the workplace. Your co-workers will be drawn to your positive attitude and you’ll soon find you enjoy being at work.
Seek out solutions to problems without being asked and show initiative!
Try something new.
Learn a new aspect of your current job, or apply a skill in a new way. Be innovative and creative!
Do work at work, and leave it there.
Focus on work when you’re in the office, and don’t take your work home with you. Work-life balance goes a long way to increasing your satisfaction with your job.
Dress appropriately for your work environment.
We all like to be comfortable, and dressing comfortably and appropriately for your work environment can help separate work and play. Maintaining a professional persona at work is important in balancing your work and life.
Use your talents and skills.
Find ways to use your talents and skills in your current job. Not only will you keep your skills up-to-date, you’ll enjoy your work more.
Like taking on a special project, cross-training is a great opportunity to gain new experience and add variety to your work day.
Helping others strengthens your connection to your network, and can help build credibility and a positive reputation at work.
Being engaged in your work will improve your work experience. Every one of these tips will also help you transition into a career of your dreams where you can love what you do and do what you love.
I love your comments! I invite you to pick 2 of these tips to implement in your work-life. Which 2 will you try?
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Joining a Professional Association is a great way to network, stay on top of trends in your field, build leadership skills, participate in on-going training, gain expertise and obtain professional certifications.
Membership to a local Professional Organization is a one-stop shop for professional development and career success. Most Professional Association Chapters have meetings once-a-month with the opportunity to network, attend an educational program with certification points, and participate in association business. Membership also usually includes subscription to online content and webinars, and periodical publications.
I am a grateful member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
As a member of IAAP and SHRM I have been welcomed and supported in my career by open, friendly and successful professionals. Networking is a breeze at every IAAP and SHRM function, and I’ve built great professional relationships at association meetings.
I’ve also had the opportunity to obtain affordable world-class training through monthly programs, annual meetings and conferences. Programs have included resume writing, social media, generations in the workplace, diversity and much more. Training opportunities have included Microsoft Office skills for advanced users, computer security, legal concerns and more.
I don’t know why it took me so long to go to my first Professional Association meeting. The atmosphere couldn’t have been more inviting and fun, and the benefits are vast.
Getting involved in your professional development will boost your confidence, opportunity and experience. Joining a Professional Organization is just one way to be active in your career success. However you get involved- just do it!
I’m active in International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and Society for Human Resource Management, and you can find many more Professional Associations here.
What Professional Organizations are you a member of? Have you had positive or negative experiences with Professional Associations? Share them here!Join the Conversation