Learning For Life

Learning For Life: Why You Should Always Question What You Believe To Know

Talking business with clients and students of all ages is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things I do. I always leave these interactions feeling energized and reflective. Energized because many are excited to talk about their future goals and career choices, and their "why." Reflective because many of their questions deal with the career path that I took to get where I am today.

One question that often comes up in various ways, shapes and forms is, “What are the key skills I need to learn to be successful in business?"

My response always includes a few key learnings or behaviors that I have applied to progress through the corporate ranks, eventually founding two successful companies. It will always include some, if not all, of the skills that I have applied for personal or professional growth.

I believe that your behaviors drive your outcomes. I believe that listening — focusing fiercely on what others are saying — is the most critical skill you can have when it comes to problem-solving or finding solutions. I believe that responding with empathy is one of the greatest tools any leader can leverage to resolve conflict, to coach effectively, to build trust and to win the hearts and engage the minds of your team. I believe that credibility is any leader’s greatest capital. These are just a few examples of the skills and traits I consider essential for success.

I recently, however, added another item to the list: You must develop an insatiable passion to never stop learning and questioning what you believe you know.

Learning is defined as “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.” Renowned UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden once said, "It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts." This really resonates with me. If your job requires you to transmit knowledge to an individual or group with the specific purpose of changing their behaviors, one of the tactics that enables greater comprehension and retention is to also provide some words, thoughts or examples they can use that help them assign meaning to your message. This can come in the form of quotes, examples, stories, or personal experiences. Message + Meaning = Learning. …