We have all heard the saying that “education is the gift that keeps on giving,” but why do so many people stop pursuing it after graduation or after getting a degree or two?  

I certainly understand that formal education includes an official end date, but perhaps it’s really a checkpoint and not the finish line.  Who says that continuous learning has to stop once the schooling is finished?  Once the learning stops, so does the growing.

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Have you considered any of this?

Personal development is something that anyone can choose to pursue for a wide array of reasons.  Perhaps you desire to become more knowledgeable or accredited in your profession. Maybe you have a hobby that you want to become more knowledgeable in.  You may simply love reading and enjoy the expansion of your mind that comes with that as a nice bonus.

For my entrepreneurs reading this, you have an amazing opportunity in front of you right now!  It’s the grind that you know as your passion and all of the experiences that come with it.  

What do you plan to do with this?  

I have always been a HUGE fan of the idea that actual life experience is an amazing education opportunity.  I would enjoy hearing your opinion of this statement in the comments.

Talking about something that you have never done has little to no value.  Speaking about a topic that you have researched offers your audience limited value, at best.  When you tap into your personal experience, this can put you on the road to becoming a subject matter expert. The difference in how you are perceived in each example is significant.  

The order of operations that the previous paragraph is written in, is often the progression that actually takes place.  Learning is a process and often an adventure.

Entrepreneurship is an incredibly difficult journey, that offers an abundance of new opportunities and challenges. When we try to excel at something that we have never done, failure is certain.  How you decide to respond to the failure is the differentiating factor. Check out a previous blog that I wrote about this same topic.  Embrace failure as an educational opportunity, tweak your approach and try again and again and again.

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I recently heard this line somewhere and I love it:

Every black belt in martial arts is nothing more than a white belt that never gave up.”

To really compete in your industry or niche, you will need a certain level of knowledge.  This is where personal development comes into play in a major way.  As an example, I read regularly and listen to podcasts in different genres. I focus on topics that my traditional career focus would have never required, but entrepreneurship is a different animal.  Think about teeth and claws, my friends!

Sales, marketing, accounting, content creation, R&D, networking and building a world class team are a few areas that I am exposed to and involved with every single day.  Half of these focuses are way out of my comfort zone, and yet I pursue them anyway.  

Does this resonate with your experience too?

Earlier, I mentioned competing in business but now I want to think on a bigger scale with you for a minute.  If you want to dominate your industry or niche, you will find yourself often existing exclusively outside of your comfort zone. This scares the crap out of a lot of people, and this is where things start to interest me!

Aspiring for greatness is going to come with a lot of failure, disappointment, unforeseen circumstances and wonderful opportunities for learning, education and growth.  I can guarantee you this! Remember that opportunities by themselves are merely circumstances, so action is required on your part to harvest the fruit that they bare.  

Check out this quote from a well-known, student of learning:

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

Experiencing massive failure in entrepreneurship is one of the greatest assets that I personally have.  I can create a lifetime of content from my experiences and share the knowledge that I have gained with others.  I also know what doesn’t work for me, instead of merely speculating.

Making money and accomplishing goals is a lot of fun and you need to learn from these times as well.  The struggle and the grind is where class actually “goes into session.”  Embrace the pain, lean into your fear with an open mind, and turn it into an opportunity for growth and development.

You will not find opportunities like this in a traditional classroom or in a college course.  I am a big advocate of formal education, but it does have it’s limitations.

Take a break and listen to one my previous podcast episodes that speaks well to this:

Episode #19: Overcoming All Odds with Jenny Oakley

Instead of getting frustrated the next time you fail to land that big client, sharpen your sight and look for the seeds for growth that the situation offers to you.  Learning is a never-ending process that will give you what you put into it.

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Keep learning and keep striving to get to the place that you want to go!