There are many reasons to invest in continuous learning, but perhaps one of the most forgotten is the need to re-learn lessons. Independent contractors can especially benefit from re-learning. Here are just a few justifications:
- Typically, when we take a course or learn a new skill we retain only a portion of what we are taught. Very often we are trying to cram as much information into as short a period of time as possible the result being that we only take in a small portion of what we are taught.
- Independent contractors take courses for many reasons, such as acquiring a designation, upgrading certifications, or learning new technologies, but quite often contracts don’t require all of the new skills learned. When it is time to apply them, you may have forgotten much of the course content.
- As we get more experienced, it’s easy to pick up bad habits and forget some best-practices in your field. When we re-visit old material, it refreshes us on how things should work.
- As your contracting career advances, the demand for some skills will likely become more important. For instance you might take some courses on presentation skills early in your career, but are more likely to use them later.
- Over time, course content changes based upon the latest thinking, new technology or just different philosophies so what you learned, and practiced, all these years just might be out of date!
Here are some ideas to think about
- Don’t discount a training opportunity just because you might have covered that topic previously. Be open to the possibilities!
- Dig out some old course material and revisit it.
- Develop a training plan for yourself that is very pragmatic. Training is expensive, but there are many ways to learn! It may bring you significant value to take some of the short personal development courses offered, particularly if they complement training you took in the past. Learn from others and talk to contractors who take courses you might have taken years ago. Borrow books and read voraciously!
Lifelong learning keeps you sharp, improves your skills and is absolutely critical if you want to remain relevant in today’s fast changing marketplace. This is just another way you’ll stand out among the many other independent contractors in your field.
How often do you refresh your skills or re-learn/review old lessons? Could you do better at it? Start a discussion with other contractors in the comments below!