Growth = (Knowledge + Action + Reflection) x sharing

Over recent years I’ve started to force myself to read a lot more!

It’s not an easy thing to do and there is actually a lot of material and resources out there that are designed to improve your reading skill. Reading quicker, absorbing more information, and even knowing what parts to read! Yes, you do not have to read cover to cover.

My personal need to read has been finally realized after being that almost Nelson Muntz like character in school who would make fun of those who read for enjoyment. Now I am striving so hard to be that bookworm!

Completing the turnaround.
Completing the turnaround.

So why has it become so important?

Well if you’re not going forward you’re going backwards. That’s it quite simply. But how do you go forward?

You must take action.

How you move decide to take your action is up to personal preference. Some prefer a cycle of taking massive action and receiving feedback and then adapting their actions. On the other end of the scale others may prefer to taking a studious approach and consulting best practices or new sciences before taking their somewhat lesser action. Whichever way you break it down, moving forward aka progression comes from some form of action. My preference for progression is certainly to lean towards the taking of massive action but I am now increasingly understanding the importance that knowledge holds.

People will often confuse knowledge and worse yet even experience with being exposed to some ideas. Either through a course, a book or even a formal education.

A certificate or qualification of some kind is great for the CV but not necessarily for you in the field. All that the expensive sheet of paper shows is that you paid for an education, you were exposed to specific ideas and you managed to record a good level of comprehension of those ideas at the given time of testing. That’s all.

The reason I say this so bluntly is because I am living proof of this. My undergraduate degree and to a certain extent even my masters degree could be described as this. I did not absorb much after completion of the courses but I was able to churn out good results when needed. Did I come away with the whole learning experience with new found knowledge that I could then take into the field? Not massively. This is not a fault of the education or institution in any way but of the student. I simply was not mentally ready; not respectful enough and did not see the value in what I was getting. I feel ridiculous admitting this but that’s completely how the first degree played out. However, it has taken some time but now I’m at a stage where I see that knowledge, education is hugely important in aiding my progress. Essential in fact.

Education is the compass that points you towards deciding the best path to walk…


…But you must then walk the path.

However, once you’re staring at the face of the path you know is the right one. Guess what. You still have to move. You have to take action and apply the knowledge. Don’t just take it in. Use it. Experiment with it. Question it. Find the strengths and weaknesses within the ideas presented. However most of us rarely take it that far. We are simply happy enough to tell ourselves that being exposed to these ideas is enough. It most definitely isn’t. An example of this is how ready those of us in the coaching community are to share what we are currently reading. Pictures of a new book or even a mini pile are accompanied with #learning #growth #development.

JM book
An example of one of those vapid tweets. From yours truly circa 2013

These pictures are great. But only if they are followed by images of notes, highlights, circles around some of the striking ideas within these books. Then wouldn’t it be great if we could see some actual application of these notes, some experience being gained from the knowledge. Imagine if this was then shared and exchanged with others who did the same! But again, it never gets that far, well not enough in relation to the number of the pictures we see like the one shown above. Clearly I’m following too many of the wrong people.

Some note taking from a course, ok that's a start.
Some note taking from a course, ok that’s a start.

But I realized the error of my ways and have changed how I interact with knowledge. I am now encouraging others to do the same.

I support knowledge acquisition; Read, go on courses, enrol in formal education. Share your enthusiasm for it all too, that’s great. But then go further and share your enthusiasm for what you learnt. Currently far too often the process is left unfinished. Then if we really want to squeeze that knowledge, we then must go and apply it and then share it. Doing so will allow for some active reflection too, which will then allow us to best evaluate where next to direct our new knowledge.

Why am I emphasizing the sharing aspect of this all? Well sharing allows for cementing understanding, hearing different interpretations, engaging in healthy discussion and potentially furthering your knowledge by exchanging experiences of the knowledge being applied. This is the ideal process that should take place every time any coach comes across some new material.



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