Big thanks to my colleague Janis Pettit of Small Business Big Results for allowing me to reprint this brilliant post on perpetual learning and how it is detrimental to our productivity!
As creative Entrepreneurs most of us have an insatiable curiosity. We love to learn and feed the creative juices. But just like an excess of anything, too much learning may not be good for you.
It’s easy to spend your precious work time reading free e-books, watching webinars and videos or attending free tele-classes. No doubt you will learn some valuable tips, tactics and skills, but if they are not what you need right here and right now to make you more successful, then all this information will just accumulate and lead you to overwhelm and overload. Plus you’ll have wasted a lot of precious time.
I use a sophisticated software system called Infusionsoft in my business. It handles all my e-mail marketing, shopping cart, affiliate management and contact data base needs for my business. One of the cool features is that each time someone takes an action, like registering for a training I offer, or downloading a free report, it “tags” that person, letting me know what action they took.
By looking at the tags attached to someone’s contact record I learn a lot. I recently noticed someone had tried to register for one of my workshops but their credit card payment was declined and they were unable to complete the registration. When I checked their record I saw that for almost two years they had attended just about every free training I’d offered, but obviously were still struggling to make money in their business. There was obviously little goal planning or action taking.
Unfortunately I see this too often. This person had become a perpetual learner.
I remember being there myself when I started my business back in 2001. It took me more than a year to understand that I could gather bits or pieces of the puzzle but I would never put it all together if I didn’t do three things:
- get help from a coach or mentor
- stop and think before devouring new information
- become a perpetual focused action taker
Random action taken without a real understanding of the marketing and money generating systems that create success will only get mediocre results. So, I sought help from people who had already been there and achieved the results I wanted. When I started really taking perpetual action, my business took off.
Perpetual learners often fear that if they take action it won’t be perfect and they will be seen as an impostor. Do you fear that taking bold action may not get the results you wanted? Or have you hesitated to get help year after year because you are stuck believing that there isn’t enough money, and that belief becomes a self fulfilling prophecy? While you’re doing all that learning, success may be passing you by.
Over the years so many clients have come to me with this problem and they had finally reached a point where they made a decision to change. This is a good time to look at your business and see if you are more successful than you were at this time last year. If not that’s a loud and clear message that some major and perhaps uncomfortable changes need to be made in how you spend your time and in your belief in your ability to plan and achieve your goals and run a successful business.
Here are a few tips that will help you move from perpetual learner to perpetual action taker:
- Make a list of the skills of knowledge you need now. Then chose to learn only what will serve you immediately with your current projects and money generating goals.
- Set aside time each week to look over all the training events you are interested in and chose only those that will serve you. Avoid impulsively clicking through to every offer that comes through your inbox.
- Track how you spend your time for a week. Are you spending 75% of your time focusing on client or money generating activities or on creating marketing materials and products that will generate income?
- Find a way to actively connect with prospects, clients or potential JV partners every day. If you are behind your computer not really talking to anyone that’s a warning sign.
- Get help. Once you chose to work with a coach, mentor or advisor, follow their system and once it works, keep working it.
I hope if you are reading this that it’s exactly the message you needed to hear. I hope time stops for one moment and you become aware that this is your time to make major changes and to surge forward. It is truly an “aha” moment when you wake up to the realization that perpetual learning can keep you stuck in a holding pattern, making excuses and procrastinating, and that changing this habit is the lesson that will set you free.
Janis and I are in 100% agreement on this subject! If you identify with the perpetual learning syndrome that she describes, leave a comment below to tell us how it is affecting your business and what you have tried to do about it.
Janis Pettit is a serial entrepreneur who has helped hundreds of small and solo business owners increase their income doing what they love. She has created numerous business growth programs and is a sought after public speaker. She is one of the contributing authors of the Amazon best seller- “Trust Your Heart: Transforming Your Ideas into Income.” Learn more about Janis and her amazing success story at http://www.smallbusiness-bigresults.com/meet-janis/