If I look at all the people in my life that I would deem successful or even people that I respect, there are a lot of differences. Some of them have degrees, and many of them don’t. Some are men, and some are women. Some are powerful executives and others are about as blue collar as one can get. I could go on and on listing out the differences, but I can only come up with one thing that they all have in common. The one denominator that they have in common is that they have a thirst for knowledge. They don’t necessarily have a desire to pursue a degree (or degrees) although some of them are taking that path, but they are all expanding their knowledge through a variety of different ways.
Reading is probably the most common way that they acquire new knowledge. Whenever I meet someone that is well versed on the latest books, I am always impressed. They may end up being a jerk, but at least they are a well-read jerk, and that has to count for something. I have met a number of people online that I think may read more than I do. It has been very encouraging for me as I don’t personally know anyone that reads more than I do. That fact makes me very sad, because I don’t read that much. One, maybe two books a month. Reading is one of the easiest and most accessible ways for us to expand our knowledge.
I recently learned that Dan Cathy is coming to speak at the University of Tampa. In case you are not familiar with him, Mr. Cathy is the President and COO of Chick-Fil-A which is a large restaurant chain in the United States. I am always impressed when I walk into a Chick-Fil-A because the service is always fantastic and the location of the restaurant seems to have no bearing on the quality of the service. The restaurants are always clean and the food is great in my opinion. This level of consistency in hundreds of locations screams to me that the company has an excellent management culture. When I saw Mr. Cathy was speaking, I was thrilled (and believe me that is an understatement). I don’t even know what he is going to be talking about, but I know that this will be a fantastic opportunity to learn from someone that has a great deal of knowledge on leadership. Why wouldn’t I be excited about that? I started telling everyone I know about it. Very few people shared my level of excitement. In fact I only found one person that was excited by the opportunity and she is going with me to hear him. I probably told at least twenty people and I only found one person that was interested in going. This depressed me a bit. I don’t know how to instill a desire to learn into those that I care about, but I really believe it is a big indicator of how successful you will be.
Podcasts are rapidly becoming one of my favorite ways of expanding my knowledge. I think because I can listen to them while driving or exercising, so I don’t have to make to time for them which makes them a very appealing option. I am still looking for any recommendations you may have on good podcasts, so far Manager Tools is still my favorite but I know I have only listened to a very small fraction of what is available out there. I do think that there needs to be a better way of promoting podcasts. Finding good ones is a lot of work.
So my challenge to you is, what are you doing to expand your knowledge this week? Reading this blog counts, but what else do you have? Educate us on what you are doing, so that maybe we can all learn a thing or two together.