Learning Opportunities All Around Us

Friends communicatingAccording to Google “Opportunity” is defined as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. I would add to that “or learn something which can be beneficial to your success.”

With the holiday weekend fast approaching I thought this might be a useful topic to discuss. Every opportunity to meet new people or catch up with friends and family can be a learning opportunity.  Learning opportunities don’t just present themselves in formal educational settings. If you’re looking for a career advancement, enhancement, or looking for a change, conversing with friends and family members may give you the idea you weren’t really looking for, but the ones that set you on the path you desire.

  1. Remember this is a party. Be sure you aren’t just talking business. Opportunities don’t just present themselves in business conversations. Sometimes asking a friend you haven’t seen in a few months what there up to gives you all kinds of great “Intel” for your career. For example, I was recently at a social event. When I started talking to someone I hadn’t seen in a while I learned they were taking a new Project Management course. As a certified project manager and a trainer, this was really good information for me. That night I was able to research, learn, and grow based on what I discussed earlier that day. At a different event, I learned a friend had taken a job as an HR Specialist at a company one of my customers wanted to work for.
  2. Move around the room. Many people have specific friends they like to chat with at every party. Take the opportunity to join in on conversations with people you don’t usually sit with or converse with. You’ll be amazed what you can learn from new friends.
  3. Listen, Listen, Listen – As Dale Carnegie said “remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.” Ask engaging questions, so you can learn more. Don’t tune the conversation out. Even if you don’t understand fully, you’ll be amazed at what little tid-bits of information can be turned into.
  4. Most importantly have fun. Nicholas Sparks said, “In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance, when you least expect it, sets you on a course that you never planned, into a future you never imagined.” If you hear something that interests you, go home and research the topic.

Have a safe and healthy July 4th!

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