Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: self-discipline

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to self-discipline.

Re-Learning Old Lessons


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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:back to school

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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new technology or just different philosophies so what you learned, and practiced, all these years just might be out of date!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

  1. Don’t discount a training opportunity just because you might have covered that topic previously.  Be open to the possibilities!
  2. Dig out some old course material and revisit it.
  3. 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!

Invest in Yourself!


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Many of the professionals we work with at Eagle are independent contractors, who are one person incorporated companies. One of the challenges that business owners always face is in personal development and a one person business exacerbates that problem.

If “the business” is taking time out for training, then it is not making money and it is paying for training. This brings up a common question asked by independent contractors: “How do I continue to enhance my skills and still do my day job?” Here are a couple of ideas:

Read! It seems obvious but so few people do it! Take a look at Executive Book Summaries. They are an 8 page (20 minute read) synopsis of some of the greateTarget Professional Skillsst business books. A very affordable annual fee lets you download summaries and read them when you have a few minutes. You can also subscribe to periodicals relevant to your specialty which will produce short, very informative, relevant documents that keep you thinking and help you to stay relevant.

Network! It’s almost a sure bet that there are many existing groups near you filled with like-minded professionals looking to meet new people and grow their knowledge. If not, why not start your own networking group?

The Internet! There are online courses in just about everything that will help you improve your skills or get you familiar with that newer technology. It takes discipline, but that’s the price of being great at what you do. Get the search engines working for you! It also doesn’t hurt to scan through articles that speak to the latest trends.  Social media is filled with them as long as you’re following the right people, especially on Twitter and LinkedIn. (Tip: a Google search will help you find the best people to follow)

Invest a little in yourself and you differentiate yourself from almost everyone else – that’s a guarantee! Do you invest in yourself and, if so, how often?  Do you have any tips for the busy contractor who wants to do more?  Leave them in the comments below.

Self Discipline for Working At Home


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Depending on your project, working from home may be an option and, depending on your client’s requirements, you may have some flexibility with your time.  It’s still important, though, to maintain self-discipline and ensure you get everything done, without giving in to those distractions.  Here’s a fun video by Matt Abraxas that gives some tips about how to stay focused when you work from home.