For anyone that was genuinely interested in learning more about their chosen field of interest – whether it was business related or about how to succeed in life in general, there has always been a wealth of resources available. Perhaps the most traditional was to take educational classes, whether at a Community College, Adult Education, or at the University level. One could also reach out to professional organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce or a more targeted industry related Trade Association. Of course you could also get involved in any number of networking groups such as the Jaycees, Lions Club or Rotary. And don’t forget the most basic source of information – the Library!
But now, if you are serious about learning more about a given market or technical field, the choices are much more robust. In the last 20, 15 or especially in the last 10 years even, the ability to gain information and answers to your questions are seemingly unlimited. The internet alone has become the single strongest resource available. Just by doing a Google search you can have pages of applicable information at your fingertips – literally! And now the benefits of a trade association have also been diluted through the advent of discussion groups on platforms such as LinkedIn. Looking for some different perspectives on a given topic – try searching the wide variety of blogs to learn more.
Now more than perhaps ever before the need to stay connected and to learn more – to gain insight and advance your professional standing is critical. Regardless if you are the leader, a mid-level manager, or even an entry-level hire, the need to learn and advance – or even just evolve, has become critical. And if you agree that this is important now, just wait another 5-10 years!
At the same time that this ability to find answers to our endless need for more information has evolved, so too has the overwhelming demand on our time to stay engaged. The desire to learn and advance can at times create a real struggle with the need for balance within our lives. The pressure to stay connected, to in fact be ahead of the next new trend in our chosen field, can indeed be seemingly too much!
The key is to identify the sources of content that are relevant to our chosen field. Those individuals or organizations that bring the most insight to the questions we seek answers to. Or, the associations that we abandoned in favor of online discussions that allow for more personal interaction. Perhaps it might be seminars, webinars or conferences that are specific to our interest. Whatever we find to allow us to learn the most while also allowing us to filter out the background “noise” that can distract us from what is most important.
So what are your most important questions… and where are you able to find the best answers?