Eight Ways to Do Your Own “Back to School”
September is here – it’s time to head back to school. Have you sharpened your pencils and opened your books?
That’s right, “back to school” isn’t just for the kids—we grown-up professionals can benefit from fall learning too. While many working adults stay abreast of their industry’s current trends, how many of us learn just for the joy of it—like when we were younger and filled with wonder? Not only can learning be fun, it’s important for our brain health and for slowing cognitive aging.
There’s no better time for learning than September. If you grew up in North America than chances are likely you spent your first 18 years knowing the end of summer meant time for class. And if you’re anything like us, you still get a twinge the day after Labour Day reminding you to hit the books.
Why waste this conditioning? Here at Pivot, we aim to capitalize on that twinge by making September a time to satisfy our curious minds. To guide our pursuit of knowledge, we’ve created this “Back to School Learning List for Grown-Ups.” We invite you to follow along if you too have the yearn to learn.
1. Start a Fall Reading List
There are plenty of good reading lists available on your favourite search engine, but why not start your own? What have you always wanted to read but have put off? Since we know not everyone will begin with that perennial booklist-topper War and Peace, we have a suggestion: Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. This book “helps people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers” by discovering and leading with their purpose. We guarantee this book will fire you up, not just at work, but in all areas of your life.
2. Enroll in a Course
With so many different formal learning options available, from online classes to night school at your local community centre, why not actually go back to school? Here at Pivot, we’re taking two courses this September that will increase our coaching knowledge: Emotional Intelligence Certification and the Co-Active Fulfillment Course. We are looking forward to learning all about EQ-i 2.0 to improve our emotional competencies and assist our clients to build theirs. The Co-Active Fulfillment Course will train us to help our coaching clients “discover their unique values, identify self-defeating influences, and create their own vision for a compelling future”. We are eager to share this learning with our clients!
3. Make it an Intellectual Tuesday
Save a day (it doesn’t have to be Tuesday!) for reading articles you’ve bookmarked during the week, or watching those documentaries that have been piling up in your playlist.
4. Join a Networking Group
Seek out networking groups that have regular presentations on various topics that interest you. Not only will you learn, but you’ll make new connections with like-minded people. New friends and contacts—this IS like back to school.
5. Start a New Learning Circle
Learning circles are like networking groups, but smaller and focused on sharing knowledge. Each member is responsible for presenting on a given subject at each meeting. You can select new topics each month and everyone chooses a different aspect to learn and report back to the group. For example, during ‘Money March’ members could present on investing, international trade, fundraising etc. Your learning circle’s membership can be as informal as just you and your friends, but try to include people with diverse interests to increase the variety of topics.
6. Challenge on of Your Fears
This one is for people who are ready to test their limits and take their learning to the experiential level. We all know nothing teaches you more about yourself than slaying one of your personal dragons. Why not join Toastmasters to overcome your fear of public speaking, or take up rope climbing to conquer your fear of heights?
7. Work With an Executive Coach
Identify new challenges with the guidance of a certified executive coach. Coaches are trained to help you set goals and overcome your own personal roadblocks. You will be surprised by the powerful you that is waiting to be unleashed.
8. Arrange Corporate Training in the Office
Bring the joy of learning to work and schedule corporate training for your team. You will bond as you learn valuable professional knowledge together.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Keep it going! We also encourage workplaces to create group learning lists. Let us know how it’s going – tell us about your fall learning experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share it on our social media.
Laura Johnson is a recruitment and communications consultant at Pivot HR Services. She has a unique blend of human resources and communications experience, gained over the last 14 years in the private, healthcare and non-profit sectors.