Expert of the Past
by Robin Sacks
Imagine an archeologist, whose job it is to be an expert on the past, decides to stop learning about new discoveries. They might be brilliant and be able to tell you anything you want to know about archeology...until their information is wrong. How can it be wrong if they know what they know? It can be wrong if a new discovery alters something we previously knew.
Imagine you need to learn how to use Microsoft Excel for your new job, but the person who claims to be knowledgeable about the program is proficient in Excel 2013! (In case you're curious, there have been 29 different versions of Excel, stretching from 1985 to the present day.) Like most software, if you're not learning the current version, what you learn may already be outdated and not help you very much.
This happens all the time and in every industry.
Once you stop learning, you become less effective.
No matter how good you are or how much you currently know, there is one major flaw that can cause it all to come crumbling down in a way from which it's hard to recover both your business and your credibility.
We all have flaws, that's not a big deal. As a matter of fact, that's what makes us who we are and gives us our personalities. It's not only OK to be human, it's highly recommended!
But this particular flaw is a biggie, and it's probably the one and only flaw that will guarantee your lack of success at some point.
The flaw is to stop learning. When someone knows what they know, and they don't know any more because they refuse to 'update' themselves, they are never going to know any more.
This is not only a sure way to walk your business to the edge of a cliff, it's also a great disservice to those who invest in you in order to invest in themselves (i.e. your clients).
One might say that as long as you know more than the person you are teaching, coaching, or consulting for, you are helping them to level up.
Yes, I agree.
However, your job as a good teacher, good coach, or good consultant is to also stay up to date on your knowledge and your industry. Those who continue to educate themselves become more valuable to their clients and potential clients. Their continuous learning is also what grows the gap between themselves and those who don't do that. Eventually, that gap will become insurmountable by those who haven't continued to move forward in their learning.
Being an expert of a previous time is not going to help you grow. It will add a lingering question to your expertise; one that can negatively affect your clients' confidence in you - are we missing something?
Make a commitment to yourself, and to those you serve, to be a lifelong learner. You're always more likely to score some points if you stay in the game.