Self development, or "sharpening the saw" as famously termed by Stephen Covey, has long been something I value and invest in. I left school with a handful of O-levels and worked for a year before entering military service. At the time, further and higher education did not hold the same appeal as getting a job and earning a wage. It was later in my early twenties that I started to understand the opportunities that education offered, and the difference a tutor with true passion for their subject could make to the learning experience of their students.
Fast forward ten years and I held a fistful of qualifications including a degree, though I realised that the qualifications were a by product of the experience of building my knowledge and skills. As individuals we learn and absorb information in various ways - I knew from a young age that video assisted my learning; having procrastinated my reading of To Kill a Mocking Bird, I must confess that I was aided in my preparation for an exam by watching the film adaptation featuring Gregory Peck.
Reading is a daily habit for many of us and I have just completed (my first read through) of some 'must read' business books given to me as Christmas gifts. I have also been exploring new (to me) network opportunities and attending some very interesting seminars and talks. It was at such an event (on the future of leadership) that I was reminded that the best way to develop your learning of a subject is to teach it.
Just the preparation of a short training session is enough to get you thinking creatively about the material; the ways you will deliver the content; and the questions you may have to respond to. Rather than wait for the opportunity to arise you could video yourself delivering a presentation; create a podcast or write a helpful blog post.
You'll be amazed at how the process of sharing your knowledge embeds that learning and builds on your expertise - it might prompt you to do a bit of research to refresh your content or you may choose to weave in a case study or useful example to your presentation. Currently I'm benefitting from preparing a sales presentation and negotiation course.
Learning is a lifetime activity and finding a subject you can passionately share and inspire in others is a gratifying reward, and if you are looking for your own inspiration, then check out some seminars and talks near you - with the right 'teacher' you'll be pleasantly surprised how much you can retain and hopefully share later with others.
P.S. If you are interested in discovering what I've been reading recently, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org