Due to COVID-19, we’ve all been quarantining for weeks. At this point, you’ve probably heard some variation of Isaac Newton’s “year of wonders.” As a result of social distancing in 1665, the 24-year old college student had the most enlightening year of his career. But if you aren’t up to the challenge of formulating a universal theory of gravitation, I don’t blame you.
However, there is an alternative to having your eyes glued to Tik Tok for hours upon end (which thankfully didn’t exist in Newton’s time).
Positive new experiences give our brain a rush of the “feel-good” chemical dopamine, which we could all use right now. Dopamine is released whenever we fall in love, eat a stack of pancakes, or when we learn a skill.
As we navigate this new normal, taking a closer look at our skill set can lead to a breakthrough. And if you stick to it, you’ll have a bunch of new skills under your belt (and on your resume).
Step 1: Take a Skill Inventory
There are an endless amount of resources out there. It can get overwhelming if you don’t narrow down your learning goals, so it’s time for a little introspection. Take out your favorite note-taking app and answer these questions:
1. What skills do I have?
2. If I could master anything, what would it be?
3. What new skill would bring me the most joy right now? (Would Marie Kondo approve?)
Step 2: Home in on Your Learning Style
If you’ve ever wondered why some people can devour a book in one sitting while others would rather pull out their own teeth, the answer is VARK.
VARK stands for Visual Auditory Reading Kinesthetic, four distinct learning styles. These styles influence how we understand information and communicate with others from the workplace to the classroom.
You can optimize your learning by tapping into your preferred style (or styles, since some of us are multimodal – or can learn in many ways.)
If you have no idea what category you’d fall under, take this quiz. Come on, who doesn’t love quizzes?
Who You Are: You need to see information to process it. In grade school, you loved seeing maps and graphs in your textbooks.
Stick to: Any activities and classes that rely on strong visuals.
• PHLEARN 30 Days of Photoshop: You can easily work through these bite-sized tutorials in a few days.
• Michigan State University Design and Make Infographics: Learn how to make eye-catching infographics for other visual learners.
• If your art history is rusty, take one of these virtual museum tours.
Who You Are: A conversationalist. You enjoy exchanging ideas with anyone that will listen.
Stick to: Podcasts, discussion groups, and webinars where questions are encouraged.
• From content ROI to Excel, Hubspot offers webinars for beginners and experts alike.
• Unleashing Greatness in Others: In this Harvard Business Review webinar, Frances Frei and Anne Morriss discuss how the best leaders lift others up to their fullest potential.
• Check out this list of Becca approved podcast episodes.
If you’re attending a virtual event, don’t forget to tweet the speakers afterward!
Who You Are: A bookworm. Your idea of a good time involves sitting down with a new book.
Stick to: Active reading. Take notes as you read to retain even more information.
• Quarantine Book Club: Hop on Zoom and join your favorite authors for insightful conversations in the comfort of your pajamas.
• Maybe you’ll find your next favorite book on our TMG Reads list.
• If you want a fresh perspective on leadership, check out any of these picks.
Who You Are: The get-up and go type. Like yours truly, you enjoy lessons where you can learn by doing.
• CodinGame: Learn coding by participating in competitive multiplayer games.
• Nikon Photography: Grab your camera and put some photography fundamentals to the test.
• How to Build an Android App: By the end of this project-centered course, you’ll have your own app.
Step 3: Find a Learning Buddy
You won’t always feel gung-ho about this process, so enlist a friend to check up on your progress. Think of it as a gym accountabilibuddy but for your brain. An ideal learning buddy will motivate you but won’t be afraid to tell you when to pick up the slack on your learning journey.
Whether you want to upskill, update your resume, or switch careers, be sure to give it your all. As Master Yoda once said, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
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