Learning by doing

Amateur radio station of DJ4PI

Amateur radio station of DJ4PI (Photo credit: Wikipedia) – not my station!

How did you begin to learn to do what you do for a living? I started in my first job by being given a pile of basic routine work to do. When I had done it, I was shown how to apply it to produce the finished product, which in my case was a service provided to a customer.

I could not have learned by watching someone else just sitting at a desk. We all need to have hands-on experience to learn and become interested in a subject in the first place.

It is the same with anything we do which can inspire us. As some of you may know, I am a radio amateur or ham. I first became interested in radio when I was at school, aged about fifteen, and watched and heard people (mostly older boys) using the army cadet forces network to communicate. It was learning by watching and by being involved, and it opened up a whole new world to me.

If it had just been a question of someone using headphones and hearing just one side of a conversation, I would have learned nothing, and would have been bored. My being involved in the entire conversation was essential to spark my interest. It gave me a hobby I value today in the same way I have had an entire career from being involved and useful from the start.

Whatever we do, we need to have a sense of self-worth. How do you inspire those who will come after you and follow you?

Business gym cracker

Business on the treadmill?

Recently I have been getting back into the routine of going to the gym. I am quite an “old hand” at the gym, but having been “injured” a while back I got out of the habit. Still, I am going well now and I am pleased how my fitness has returned quite rapidly.

What has this got to do with business? Well, it has a bit in that it got me thinking.

There is this guy I see quite often and you get to chat to familiar faces. He is pleasant and because he has coached me helpfully with the odd suggestion I am even prepared to overlook the Tottenham Hotspur shirt he quite often wears.

The other day he said to me after staggering off the treadmill “it never gets any easier does it?” Well, I suppose it doesn’t in terms of getting maximum fitness because for the hour or so we are in the gym we need to push ourselves. Otherwise either we never get as fit as we should be or we lose the best level of fitness we can attain.

A lot of people running small businesses work themselves full-tilt 100% all the time. I am all for commitment, but it strikes me that we train in the gym so that we can cope with any activity we have to do and we want to feel better. Maybe we want to stay lean or get lean. It is not because we live life at a constant high speed when we are not in the gym. We need time to ourselves to take stock and plan.

In business, if we work our fingers to the bone and it never gets any easier, we are not doing it right. We need to train ourselves to be more efficient and to delegate. Or we need to ask someone to train us so that we get better results without working so hard.

It’s not difficult. It just needs a bit of commitment to help ourselves and to put aside a little time to be better. Just like going to the gym.

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