There are lots of things that I intend to get around to, sooner or later. One day, I’m going to clean out a bunch of old clothes from my closet. One day, I’m going to clean out my garage, and get it organized. The sobering fact, however, is I’ve had these intentions for a LONG time, and I’ve done nothing about them. If I were truly committed to getting these things done, I would put them on my calendar.
What gets scheduled, gets done. – Kevin Wallace
The unfortunate thing with all too many IT careers is we have good intentions to learn about some emerging technology, but, like my intention to clean out my closet, we never get focused on it. This reminds me of a story I a shared in my book Your Route to Cisco Career Success. The story was about a time when my director asked for my input on a decision regarding promoting a staff member. My director explained that this person had eleven years of experience. My rebuttal was they did not have eleven years of experience. Rather, they had one year of experience, eleven times. The point was, this person had put zero focus on professional development. They didn’t seek out any additional training. Instead, they did the same tasks, day after day, year after year.
To keep our competitive advantage, we need to continually grow. There’s always a next step.
I am still learning. – Michelangelo at age 87
To keep us on the path of continual learning, I suggest we create a learning calendar, where we carve out time dedicated to learning a specific topic. If you were to show me your calendar right now, would I be able to see where you’re spending time on focused learning?
Where focus goes, energy flows. – Tony Robbins
Personally, there are a couple of things I’m focused on learning right now. With Cisco’s focus on Software Defined Networking (SDN), I want to learn Python programming. In fact, earlier this morning I bought three Python books from Amazon. Right after making the purchase, I scheduled what days I’m going to be reading those books and how much time I’m going to spend reading on each of those days. I’m also learning Adobe After Effects (to add some cool new effects to my training videos), and I purchased an on-line training course that I’m going through. Again, I’ve scheduled in my planner exactly when I’m going to be watching that online course.
I encourage you to do something similar. If you don’t currently have a learning calendar, take a moment right now, and identify a technology or topic you’re interested in that would also help advance your career. Maybe it’s your next Cisco certification exam you need to focus on, but whatever it is, I suggest you block out recurring time on your calendar where you’re going to be focused on learning.
Kevin Wallace, CCIEx2 (R/S and Collaboration) #7945, CCSI 20061
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