A friend of mine recently asked me how things were going. I responded that I feel like I am drinking from the fire hose at times. If you have ever gone through a steep learning curve, you understand what I mean. The expectations are high to get up to speed quickly and proficiently.
This is why many people stress out in their jobs. They have the expectations of their boss, their peers, their employees, their organization, their family, and last but not least, themselves. Have you noticed that everyone seems to demand a lot from others these days?
I tend to have higher expectations of myself than anyone could possibly put on me…which is both good and bad. The good part is that I set my personal goals and expectations high which can lead to extraordinary success if applied in the right direction. The bad part is that if the expectations are unrealistic or in a direction that is not profitable, time and energy can be wasted.
How can you manage drinking from the fire hose? Here are some simple ways to reduce the stress of learning:
- First and foremost, make sure the task you have undertaken is worth the cost of time, energy, focus, and money. Time is your most precious asset. Count the cost of the investment of your time.
- Consider managing the flow of information. Everyone learns in a different style that is unique to them. Once you know your own style you can accelerate the learning process and minimize the risk and time spent. My style of learning is primarily seeing and doing. Once I see HOW it is done and actually DO it myself, I tend to remember more quickly and learn the process. You might be a person who learns by hearing, seeing, or doing….or a combination like me. Whatever it is, figure out how YOU learn best and use that to your advantage.
- Sometimes we expect others to learn like we do. Big mistake. If you are trying to SHOW someone who learns by HEARING, they may not get it. Find out how the student learns and reach them on their level. If you are teaching a class, you have to use all of the above because the more people you teach, the more likely they will have a diverse learning style that is different from yours.
- There is an old saying that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. That is great advice when you are taking on a mammoth task (pun intended). Just make sure it is the right elephant.
Learning is part of life. If you stop learning, you don’t remain static, you start moving backwards! An integral part of being a leader is being a learner. I was telling a group the other day that all readers are not leaders, but all leaders are readers. One of the guys in the group wanted to debate the issue with me by stating, “Just because you are a reader does not make you an effective leader, and there are many ways to learn besides reading.” I did not argue that and in fact agreed with him, but I did point out that every successful highly effective leader I have known in history or personally was an avid reader. It is not just part of the equation, but it is an integral piece of the end result.
Next time the fire hose is turned on you, I hope you can look at it a little differently, and be able to not just manage the flow…..but manage what you know.