When you’re an entrepreneur, after a while there’s a routine of all your “To Do’s” on a getting longer every day list. What are your “Go To” tools for staying balanced in your business and life?  Okay you’re really good at what you do, right? And maybe feeling a bit stuck or even stagnant at times since it’s gotten really easy for you. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat cycles which can seem like a dead-end at times to you. Well, how do you challenge yourself to grow?

Saying “Yes!” to a LIFELONG-LEARNING MINDSET PERSPECTIVE is a sure-fire approach to challenging yourself to grow. You may reflect that school ended a while ago and maybe even have begin to doubt that you can challenge yourself right now to stretch your knowledge base.

There may be two things standing in your way right now:

1) you’re really super attached to being a “know-it-all” and stake your reputation (or ego) on it to be right where you’re at or

2) too overwhelmed or stressed out by your day-to-day routine to even believe your mind is waiting for you to get curious and learn something new already!

It actually adds to your excitement, energy level and curiosity when you give yourself that room to grow your mind. It opens up new possibilities and opportunities too!

There’s a lot of research out there about how you learn.

What’s your best way to learn something new?

Do you prefer new information presented to as:

  1. Visual – (spatial) you learn best using pictures, diagrams, images like graphs and spatial understanding
  2. Aural – (auditory-musical) you learn best using sound (conversation, listening to information) and music to maximize your understanding.
  3. Verbal – (linguistic) you learn best using words, both in speech, reading and/or writing notes
  4. Physical – (kinesthetic) you learn best using your body, hands and sense of touch; moving or physically doing a task.
  5. Logical – (mathematical) you learn best using your mathematical mind and ability to think in logical or linear order with reason, solve problems and learn using numbers, abstract visual information and analysis of cause and effect relationships

Do you remember more easily when in situations that are:

  • Social – (groups, teams) you learn best through talking and working with others in a collaborative or co-creative way.
  • Solitary – (alone) you learn best when it’s a situation with no distractions so you can tackle the new information in your own way, at your own pace and time.

Do you naturally lean towards one of these? If so, keep reading for specific strategies and tips suited to each style.

You may find that you use different learning styles dependent upon the context and setting you’re in. It’s actually pretty common to have a mix of learning styles in your personal learning toolbox.

There’s no “right mix and your learning styles are most likely fluid. I know when I’ve had a full day of clients, diving into a non-fiction book from an expert I’m interviewing in a few days may be way too much for my brain at that moment.

When I want to learn some new material I want to absorb it in the best way possible for optimum comprehension and also so that I’m astute at both integrating and retrieving the material with the expert I’m interviewing.

Let me reframe that as I just went into clinical speech language pathologist jargon! Hey, it happens!

In other words, when I want to learn something new, I may need to reset to  energize myself first so that I can optimize the best learning tools in using my own best strategies. Just for the record, I move between verbal, physical/kinesthetic and visual but have also used aural and logical along with both social and solitary strategies.

Here are some TIPS to maximize your learning preference:

Visual: you learn best when you get to SEE what you’re trying to learn.

  • Highlight chunks of text you want to remember using different colors
  • Write down quotes on colorful paper (*your brain remembers more when you actually write something down – not keyboarding it!)
  • Doodle or draw
  • Color code concepts into sections
  • Use outlines, pictures, charts, diagrams to illustrate information & ideas
  • Use Visualization to remember things – attach a silly story to help you remember it all in a sequence.

Aural: you learn best when you HEAR information.

  • Read out loud – even record it so you can review it later
  • Challenge yourself to summarize what you learned and teach it to someone – even over the phone!
  • Explain your new ideas to someone
  • Record and listen to key ideas
  • Get creative and make up a song to sing to yourself of the new concept
  • Acronyms work wonders to recalling things in a given sequence

Verbal: you learn best with WORDS (written or spoken). Write it, speak it, learn it!

  • Teach others key things you’ve learned to retain the information
  • Rewrite or take notes in your own words not verbatim
  • Summarize key points and write on note cards or sticky notes and review them to learn them
  • Play “devil’s advocate” with the information and debate it for and against it

Physical: you learn best while doing things or moving around; making it a hands-on experience for you

  • Read while on a treadmill or stationary bike; listen while you pace or walk around – maybe even saying key points out loud
  • Dance, jog or fold laundry while listening to podcasts or new information
  • Record yourself reading your notes and do a physical activity while listening
  • Only work your brain for 50-minute chunks maximum (35-40 even) then take a 5-10 minutes break to stretch, walk, dance, sing…whatever!
  • Write key ideas in the air with your fingers – imagining you have a white board
  • Create a physical representation of key points you want to remember – make a rock sculpture, artistically place your food on a plate to represent the ideas you want to practice, etc.
  • Stress balls are great to activate your memory while listening or reading to something new
  • Bounce on a physio ball or chair while in front of your screen
  • Make up songs!

Logical: you’re in your finest learning mode when you create a pattern such as a list, itinerary, something that requires a logical order for the information.

  • Think of KEY POINTS. Put them in a numbered, sequential order and build on that list each time you add something new. Of course, review it too!
  • Make a chart or graph that highlights the sequence
  • Try to discover a pattern in everything you’re learning in a variety of contextual material such as, reading, watching a video, to look for patterns, associations and relationships between key concepts and ideas.
  • A goal for you is to understand new content rather than learning through repetition for optimum absorption of the material.

Social: you’re in your best learning mode when other people are around via conversation, discussion, group-think brainstorming and collaboration.

How will you challenge yourself to learn something new this week?

What are you curious about?

And because I’m pretty curious, I’m going to open up some spaces in my schedule for you (if you feel inspired to take the challenge) to ask me a question about what is getting in the way of your growth in business and personally? What areas seem stuck or unfulfilling to you?

All you have to do is answer a few questions BELOW to apply (email me your answers at carol@itdoesntfeellikework.com)

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. What’s your role in the company? __C-Suite   __Management __HR __Part of a team or division ___Customer Service  __Recruitment ___Marketing/PR __Employee __Contractor
  3. What industry are you in?
  4. What area do feel you’re stuck and not growing in?
  5. What do you want as the best outcome for yourself during this call?
  6. Where do you see yourself in three years from now?
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