How to Actually Use What You’ve Learned

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I gave a presentation today and at the end of it I got a great question from a new friend in the audience: How do you maintain your motivation and actually use the new information you learned to create your best life?

We had a good conversation about that, and as I drove home I started listening to an audiobook that addressed the exact same question. I don’t believe in coincidences, so my ears really perked up.

Here’s what I got out of my drive home:

Have you ever read a great personal development book, or listened to an audiobook, or attended a seminar, gotten fired up about changing your life and reaching new goals, only to have the feeling fizzle?

Then, you’re off to read the next book and the cycle repeats itself? This happens to me sometimes, how about you?

When we get great information, why don’t we use it to change our behavior and our lives?

I think it’s because that can be a hard thing to do. It’s easier for us to read a book, or listen to a podcast, or attend some training, than it is to implement what we’ve learned.

I love what Ken Blanchard and Paul Meyer say in their book, Know Can Do! Put Your Know-How Into Action. Once you’ve got some good knowledge, you need to integrate it into your behavior and life before you move on to the next thing. Otherwise, you end up in information overload territory.

Imagine getting a golf lesson and the pro explains how to fix ten problems with your swing. How do you think your next round of golf is going to go? There is no way you are going to be able to remember and implement all the suggestions. You are probably going to end up getting frustrated, playing worse, and then giving up changing your swing at all.

Instead, how about learning less, but really learning it. The idea is to take a couple pieces of great information, or ONE book, learn it through spaced repetition and use it in your life. Once you’ve integrated it into your daily routine, then you’re ready to learn something new.

Learn less, more.

To continue with the golf analogy: Work on one or two fixes to your swing. Get those down really well, and then move on to the next fix.

Or, say you just picked up a new book and the information in it resonated with you. Here’s how you really learn it over spaced repetition: Read the book through once. Read it through a second time, underlining the compelling points. Read it a third time and take notes on the “aha moments” that leap out at you. Read it a fourth time with an accountability partner who keeps you on track to actually implement the ideas from the book into your life. Finally, teach the ideas to someone else.

If you do all that, you really know the material, in theory and in practice. That makes a lot more sense to me than getting a superficial knowledge and then moving on to the next shiny thing.

What do you think?

Let’s GO!

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

Before You Give Up – Read This

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You’ve been working really hard and you’re frustrated. All the big ideas, extra hours, sacrifices, and effort you’ve put in have gotten you…what?

Nothing.

Maybe.

But what if you’re this close to a breakthrough? What if that last little bit of work will put you on a path to something that could really change your life?

My first job in talk radio was not as a talk show host. I was working for minimum wage doing all the grunt work and overnight shifts. I even had to buy time to get a chance to be on the air. Fairly quickly they were “kind” enough to let me provide a show for the station for free, but I wasn’t getting paid. Ouch.

Even though my wife’s job and my part time job as a mental health counselor were earning enough to support us, I felt like I was letting her down. I told her I was about to quit the radio dream and get a full time counseling job.

She convinced me to stay at it at least until the end of the year. (She’s awesome.) About a month later I was offered a full time job as a talk show host on the number one station in town.

I was reminded of this while I was watching The Voice with my daughter. One of the contestants is married with children. He’s a teacher and sings on the side. He’s been doing it for over a decade without much success. He told his brother he was about to give up on the idea of a singing career – and then he got a spot on The Voice.

What if you’re that close?

Before you give up, do a double check:

1) Remember why you want this. Is that why still strong for you? Why are you working this hard? Why are you doing what other people aren’t willing to do? Isn’t is because then you will get to do what other people aren’t able to do?

2) Review the progress you’ve made so far. You might be surprised at what you’ve already accomplished.

3) Review your plan. What parts are working? What parts aren’t working? What could you change to get better results?

4) Imagine what your life would be like if this started turning around for you? What would change? How would that impact you, and those around you? How would it make you feel?

5) Give yourself some grace. Maybe you just need to slow down and take a bit more time on this. Maybe you’re burning yourself out and expecting too much too soon. Go for smaller successes and then build to bigger things. You’re human, and that’s ok.

6) Email me before you give up and see if I can help you!

My next post will be about when it’s okay to quit. I know I just said don’t give up, but I’ll explain the difference.

Question for comment: How do you keep going when you feel like giving up?

Outsource What You Don’t Want to Do for Almost Nothing

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Are there things you have to do, but you don’t really want to do?

Um, Greg, is this a trick question? Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?

Sorry.

Here’s the point. You can outsource almost everything you don’t want to do – and most of it doesn’t cost very much. Why waste your precious time doing things you don’t like and might not be very good at?

How much more could you get done if you focused most of your time on the things you love to do and do well? At work? At home?

Yes, it costs money. But not as much as you might think, and how much more money could you make focusing on your most important things?

As I was writing my book (shameless plug – makes a great Christmas gift – especially for your college educated son living in the basement playing video games all day) I realized I didn’t want to spend the time and effort creating the cover, formatting it for print and digital outlets, and doing the final editing. I also knew I couldn’t do those parts of the book as well, and as quickly, as people who do that sorts of things as their main job.

So, I outsourced all of it!

I used a website called Fiverr. You have tons of people and organizations from America and all around the world to choose from. Each one’s performance is rated by the users and you can reach out to them before you put down your money to get the job done. All the work is based on $5 gigs.

My front cover was $5. My back and side cover were another $5. A digital 3D photo for my website and Amazon was $5. You get the idea.

I had several people in the business tell me it would cost several hundred dollars to get my book cover created. I did it for $15 plus tax. Sweet.

Here are some other websites that can help you outsource your unwanted tasks:

Peopleperhour
Guru
Upwork
Elance

As I ramp up my business on helping people find and pursue their Passionate Purpose I plan to spend my time on what only I can do and outsource the things I’m not as good at, don’t like to do, or don’t want to spend my valuable time doing.

Think about all the things you could outsource at home and at work:

  • Video editing
  • Grocery delivery
  • Research
  • Web design
  • Research
  • Graphic design for covers, logos, banners, etc.
  • Creating Power Point slides – Great ones
  • Podcast editing
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Cleaning: It doesn’t have to be a weekly maid. How about once or twice a month? How about only the really tough stuff, like the bathrooms, and the windows?

Do what you love, what needs your touch or voice, and what creates the most for you. Outsource the rest.

Question: What have you outsourced? What has worked well and what hasn’t?

Sometimes Less is More

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Try harder. Work harder. Do more.

Does that sound like the voices in your head? Maybe that’s just me. (Maybe I should see someone about that.)

We all work hard and want to succeed. That’s a good thing. But, the idea that you must go 100mph all the time to get ahead is just wrong. (Try going 100mph off a cliff and see if going all out all the time still makes sense.)

Sometimes letting off the gas a little is what is needed. Sometimes we need to let someone else have the spotlight. Sometimes we need to listen – really listen. Sometimes we need to stop working so hard, slow down, think, create, and plan.

I went to a musical last night. One of the actresses was a good singer, but something didn’t quite feel right as I listened. Then it hit me. She was belting out every lyric. There were no dynamics, no highs and lows, loud and soft.

Don’t get me wrong, she could really wail. But, there wasn’t as much feeling and emotion in the songs as there could have been. By trying too hard all the time she was actually hurting her performance.

Do you ever do that? I know I do.

If you find yourself pressing too hard today, trying to top someone else’s story, trying to make the most and best comments at the office meeting, or trying to cram too many things in your day, slow down.

Back off for a minute. Re-evaluate. Prioritize. Be more selective about what you say and do.

Let me know how it works out. I’m going to try that today.