One of the keys to being successful in any position is to constantly be improving.
Whether you have been at a job for 2 months or 12 years, there are always aspects of the process, goals, responsibilities, and more that can be improved. There are always lessons to be learned. One of the best ways I have found to spark new ideas is by listening to others who have had similar experiences via webinars, white papers, seminars, and books.
With the vast resources that are now accessible through the internet, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information available. It can be difficult to find information that is relevant to your situation or that is intriguing enough to keep you awake. The key to successful continuing education is to start with reasonable expectations. Although the topics may be similar, there is likely not going to be a webinar that encompasses everything you need to know.
You may have to listen to 4 different events or read 6 different papers before you get the information you are hoping for, but in the end it will be worth it. There are many times when I have to wade through a sea of information that is irrelevant, not applicable, or not within our scope, but the success is in finding the parts that do. If you have to listen to a 3-hour webinar to find one piece of information that sparks a new idea or gets you to look at a problem differently, it is worth every minute.
It is unreasonable to expect every article to be interesting or to help you learn what you need to know immediately. What you can expect, however, is that if you put in the time and effort to seek out information, you will start the process of thinking differently. Sometimes all it takes is viewing the problem from a different perspective to begin solving (creating, fixing, improving, scrapping, etc.) the problem at hand.
Whether it has your undivided attention or is simply background noise as you carry out your duties, be sure to use continuing education to your benefit. The wheel may have already been invented, but listening to those with experience can help you improve it!
How have you benefited from continuing education?
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