IAA Global Marketing Summit

Never Stop Learning: A Challenge to Get Your Ass to Class

Why staying on top of trends is vital to the health and growth of your business

Hey, remember college? Your primary responsibilities included keg party attendance, trying to land an unpaid internship, and considerately scheduling dorm room makeouts around your roommate. Oh right, and learning.

Professional life is, admittedly, quite different: cocktail party attendance, trying to land an underpaid job, and (for most:) considerably less making out.  Alright, so it’s not all that different.

So why do we give ourselves a free pass to stop developing our skills after school? Is on-the-job learning enough?
Contrary to popular belief, those of us in business have something vital to learn from art: you must constantly develop your craft.

Why is it that performers feel a horrible lack when they’ve been out of class for more than a few months, and yet the rest of us feel our knowledge is sufficiently supplemented by reading a blog post every so often (ahem)?

Most of us are terribly guilty of living and working in a self-constructed industry bubble. But how can we expect to make progress, build new audiences, create community-relevant work, and extend our reach without venturing out of the tried and occasionally true?

It’s vital that the entrepreneurial spirit be fed well and often with new knowledge and awareness of what’s going on both inside and outside of your industry. Think of yourself as an athlete (there she goes again with a sports analogy) – to be great at your sport, you must train constantly, and the best professionals train not just in their chosen field but in surrounding practices to keep all their muscles in shape and ready for peak performance.

It’s never too late – or too early – to build continued learning into your professional path.  Resist the allure of the “maybe I should get an MFA/MBA/JD” and create your own through a custom blend of workshops, conferences, reading, networking events, and one-on-ones with new contacts.

My challenge to you is this: commit to a conference, class, workshop, seminar, webinar, or even just reading that business book that’s still sitting in its Amazon box. Take notes throughout on how what you’re learning can apply to what you’re doing on the ground – I guarantee you’ll come away with fresh ideas and new ways to approach your work.