If I look back over the last 10 years, I can’t even imagine the number of things I have learned. For the sake of argument, let’s say I have learned 10,000 different things that might be useful to my work.
I have learned from articles and posts, from books I have read, from conversations I have had, and so on.
Now let’s say, out of those 10,000 things I have learned, I was smart enough to identify10 things which, if I applied them, could actually have a significant impact on my success. Those were 10 moments of learning that had the potential to transform my business in some meaningful way.
But out of those 10, how many did I actually apply? And of those lessons I have applied, did I work at them hard enough to achieve some positive change?
Those numbers are made up. I have no idea what they really are. But the point I’m trying to make is that while we may be very good at soaking up information and learning things that are new to us, we are generally very bad at identifying the good stuff and then taking action and persevering until positive change takes place.
In part, this is because with access to the web we find ourselves positively deluged with new information. It’s like we learn something new every minute. It becomes impossible for us to absorb, let alone act on, all the information that comes our way.
The trouble is, amongst all that noise lie some nuggets of gold. But their importance is lost within the distracting noise of too much information.
The first thing you should do
Cut back on the noise. If you have been reading a particular website or blog for a while and it has failed to deliver any lessons that you feel could truly transform your business, stop reading it.
If you want to be able to isolate the good stuff, you have to cut away all the bad and mediocre stuff. Turn the firehose into a trickle.
The second thing you should do
Think hard about the core of your freelance business. What is at the center of your skill set or business?
Transformative change doesn’t come about through tinkering around the edges, it occurs at the center.
For example, if most of your work involves writing sales pages for ecommerce companies, you probably shouldn’t get distracted by learning how to write case studies or white papers.
And if you most of your clients come to you through a strong and robust business network and word of mouth, you probably don’t have to invest a ton of time learning about the finer points of Pinterest. It’s not at the core of how you attract new clients.
Always focus on learning those lessons that drive your core.
The third thing you should do
When you have cut back on the noise, have learned to focus on what really matters to your business, and have identified something truly worth learning…take action.
Mark some time on your calendar. Commit to learning that new skill, or internalizing that new information. Learn it formally, as if you were at school.
Now, armed with new knowledge or expertise, apply what you have learned and keep applying it until you achieve positive results.
This may sound obvious, but I know many freelancers who have invested time and money in learning something new…and then they have failed to act on what they have learned.
Wrapping it up
Learning new stuff is easy. Too easy. Being more self-disciplined with your time and attention is a lot harder. But it’s worth it. Stop cramming your head with new information that will do nothing to help move you forward.
When you find something worth learning, get serious about it, as if you were studying for an exam.
And finally, once you have finished learning, apply what you have learned vigorously until you achieve the change you are looking for.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
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