“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a minework can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
There are hundreds of quotes about education. The one above is taken from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom which I am currently reading. It is an incredible story and one which many are now familiar with, but what made Mandela who he was, was his education.
Within a business context education is essential. In some regulated professions such as legal and financial, the passing of exams is critical to being able to fully pursue your career. In other professions such as HR or marketing, education must be both formal and informal to be able to perform at the highest levels. Experience is an education, as long as you are open-minded enough to learn from it.
They say people learn from their mistakes, but I hold that people learn more from their mistakes than they do from smooth waters. In smooth waters, you are not challenged, pushed or tested. When things are taking unexpected turns, people need to experiment, research, explore and challenge their own ways of thinking and working.
As a business owner, you may have had a formal education, but did it really prepare you for what you are doing now? Did it give you a foundation on which to build and the skills to start the process? There are a lot of very successful business men and women who have failed miserably in formal education but thrived in their learning and now have highly successful businesses.
Educate your team
How often do you get frustrated with your staff?
How often do you think about disciplinary and dismissal before performance improvement?
How often do you train, encourage and support?
How often so you step back to review what the problem really is, rather than what you think it is?
How often do you take the time to educate them?
When was the last time that you educated yourself to ensure your success in business?
Was it a formal or informal education?
Have you purchased a book or a course to help you overcome a specific difficulty?
Have you engaged the services of a business coach or other professional to improve your business education?
How do you know what questions you need to ask as a business owner, if you don’t educate yourself first?
How do you know the hired help are reliable and skilled, if you don’t educate yourself first?
A committment to lifelong learning
Education is not confined to childhood, teenagers and young adults.
Education continues to take place every single day and the more you educate yourself, the more opportunities you are able to make, see and seize.