Make some free time for free learning

Last week we had a ‘self-time for self-improvement day’ at work, dedicated to ‘sharpening the saw’ and learning something new. I was spoilt for choice when it came down to selecting how I wanted to spend my learning hours.

The amount of free learning options that exist are incredible. I don’t know if this is linked to the unusual times we are navigating or if these resources have always been there. I do know they have become visible to me and I dipped my toes into what they have to offer.

Here is some of the free content I have found over the last few months. A free course on ‘the science of wellbeing’ courtesy Yale, by Prof. Laurie Santos, that opened my mind to what happiness is all about. A day long, free learning event called “power to pivot” hosted by Dean Graziosi, featuring Tony Robbins and other world class speakers like Jenna Kutcher, Trent Shelton, Brendon Burchard, Nick Santonastasso, Jamie Kern Lima and Pete Vargas. I learnt so much by just listening to how each of these inspiring people have reinvented their lives and are dealing with this global pandemic. Then I stumbled upon an offer for ‘Mentoring and Supervisions’ session on Coaching by a group of very kind Coaches, which has been a truly wonderful experience. A masterclass on how to become a podcaster by Bijay Gautam, host of “the inspiring talk”, which I hope will inspire me to experiment with podcasting. Not to forget, webinar’s galore by Coaches For You (CFY), Reputation Today and a host of others, on any topic you can think of.

Like in the real world there are no free lunches, and I am able to see that many of these (not all) are like the taster menus to get you interested in the food and then hit you up for the full five course meal. I think this is absolutely fair. Sample the fare on offer and then if you find you enjoy it and want more, pay the full fare. There is much value to be had from both experiences.

If I am truly committed to learning something, I think this is a wonderful way to explore. I get to know more about the subject and the teacher, trainer, coach or mentor, through the free offer.

Here is a sample of some of the stuff I learnt from the sampler menu.

  1. The JK Five. Jenna Kutcher share the secret sauce to get more attention online, my take away was, find five facets of yourself you really think define you and show up in those five shades online. For me they would be Creative Communication, Life and Leadership Coach, Family and Dog lover, Forest Bather and Nature enthusiast, Tennis fan for life. The power of this approach is that in sharing more of yourself, you find your tribe and make connections with ‘people like me’.
  2. Mis-wanting. Laurie Santos in the Yale course explains “Our minds lie to us all the time. We mis-want things. We think we need to change our life circumstances to become happier,” Santos says. On the other hand, she finds that “what plays a much bigger role are our simple practices, simple acts like making a social connection, taking time for gratitude, or taking time to be in the present moment.”

There are two kinds of learning. One when I learn something new and go “wow, that’s amazing”. Other times I find something I knew but had lost sight of and I go “wow, I let that slip off my radar”.

A bias for action. In the end, in all of the learning, the one thing that stands out is the need for doing. Putting theory into practice. Application. The real learning happens in the days, weeks and months after the free class. That takes hard work and follow through and it’s very often uncomfortable and difficult. Anything new takes time and effort to master. People don’t often get to see that part. The “messy middle” that JK spoke about in her talks, is not on the social media show reel. We only see the mastery or the end product.

Start. Try. Experiment. Fail. Try again and then the learner wheels will suddenly come off. Start today let the journey of lifelong learning begin. Free up some space in that busy schedule to dip into all that free learning that is just waiting for you. Then let what you learn inspire action. While you are at it, you will find out so much about yourself and the changing world around you. If ever there was a time to say “I don’t know, but I will find out” it’s now. Enjoy the journey.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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