By Theresa Caragol
As we see off our little ones to their new schools and classes (and big ones back to their campuses), I’m reminded that “back to school” isn’t just a time of year that starts and ends each fall. For us, as professionals, constant learning and development is a way of life. It’s a state of mind that impacts everything we do both personally and professionally. Let me explain.
When we’re young, we are directed to learn things in a certain order in a certain way. This is probably a good thing; otherwise kids would be assigning themselves curriculum like “Best Star Wars Movies” and “Candy Bars 101.” Yet the older we get, the more important it becomes to own our “curriculum” and be in a state of constant learning, both formal and informal. Early on in our careers this can be easy, especially if you have some extra time in your life to take classes, get your master’s degree, MBA, or just learn for fun. But as life and responsibilities fill in every nook and cranny of our day, the more vital it becomes to establish strong habits of learning for personal and professional development throughout our days, weeks and years.
Sometimes this can be as small as changing our morning habits to include some kind of learning or self-improvement (podcasts, audiobooks, yoga or boxing). Other times our trajectory of learning requires us to take a class, sign up for a course, or go back to school for a new degree. Other times we enroll in some on-the-job training, and pursue experiences, opportunities and challenges that we know will push us and, ultimately, make us better.
Maybe you’re thinking of something right now — something about your own professional growth, education or personal development that you’ve been putting off. It could be something a little scary, but it’s important. That’s your back-to-school moment.
Whatever your back-to-school moment is this fall, I encourage you to take hold of it. Be brave. Do it for you, or your family, or whatever it is that inspires you. Sharpen those No. 2 pencils and let’s have an incredible fall!
About the Author
Theresa Caragol is founder and CEO, AchieveUnite Inc., a strategic consulting and education firm that provides channel, partnering and business acceleration services to global enterprises. AchieveUnite offers partner and channel development, go-to-market strategy, M&A channel integration, and executive education forums. AchieveUnite facilitates the Alliance of Channel Women’s ACE Leadership Program. Caragol has more than 20 years’ experience in building and managing multimillion-dollar indirect channel teams and strategic alliance programs from inception to sales success.