I spent approximately $5000 on continuing education in the first year of my business. Every time I heard of a workshop, seminar, webinar, or teleconference teaching something I didn’t know about, I signed up for it.
I didn’t want to miss out on anything important, and I was convinced that even though I had over 6 years of combined training in Biochemistry and Holistic Nutrition, I still needed more training in order to be good at my job.
There was a belief that more was better; that more was needed; that more was the key to success.
“Do you think that you are taking so many courses to avoid the real world?” my husband asked me one day. Huh. My husband mistook my silence for offense and began to apologize. But I wasn’t upset. It was one of those moments where someone asks you a question directly, and it is as if the answer to the question you yourself were searching for just appears in front of you.
I realized in that moment that I was trying to solve the wrong problem. I thought that I was taking more courses in order to have the knowledge I needed to perform my job adequately. What I was really doing was trying to avoid putting myself out there and potentially failing. As long as I was taking courses, I could put off actually getting out there and “doing” the work. I wasn’t lacking knowledge, I was lacking confidence.
That was turning point for me, and I finally understood that I would never be sure that I was going to be good at my job unless I tried. There was no amount of classroom learning that could teach me to be a good practitioner. I needed to get out there, to use what I had learned, to practice, and learn through experience.
Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
I have learned more through practice, experimenting, succeeding, failing, and practicing some more than I ever have in a classroom.
I continue to expand my knowledge base and take at least one course or workshop a year, however I am much more discerning now. At times I catch myself falling into those old patterns of not feeling good enough and grasping for courses to boost me up, but I have learned to “sleep on it” and to ask for guidance to choose the right path.
I now have a series of questions that I ask myself before I register for a course or workshop, and this has served me well. Occasionally, I find that I did not get what I hoped out of a course or workshop, and that is an opportunity to once again explore my motivations for taking the course in the first place. I learn as much about myself through these experiences as I do about how to help others. Experience is the best teacher.
The secret of mastery is finally revealed – PRACTICE!” – Peggy Phoenix Dubro
My Course/Seminar/Workshop Questionnaire
- Why do I want to take this course/seminar/workshop? What am I hoping it will do for me?
- Is this the only way to learn this knowledge? Is this the BEST way to learn this knowledge?
- Am I emotionally driven to take this course/seminar/workshop, or do I feel that this is a logical choice that will move me further towards my goals?
- Can I afford to take this course/seminar/workshop? (Time and money)
- Can I afford NOT to take this course/seminar/workshop?
- How do I feel about this course? Do I feel pressured and anxious, or calm and at peace?