Success is not hard to achieve. The process is simple. Get interested in something. Pay attention. Conduct experiments. Study the literature. Talk with others. In other words, “Get curious and then get educated!” Once you know what your interests require, it’s only a matter of time before dreams come true.
Thomas Leonard, one of the founders and creative geniuses of the modern coaching profession, once observed that with the advent of the information age, anyone could become an expert in just about anything in two years or less. He wasn’t saying that we would have nothing more to learn after two years of focused attention and study, he was rather saying that within two years we could know more about any area of interest than the vast majority of people in the world.
I see that happening now, in my relationship to birds. Up until one year ago, I could identify no more than a handful of common birds by sight, and knew nothing about their calls. Then we moved to southeast Virginia, in an area designated as a bird sanctuary.
Suddenly my interest in birds grew enormously. I bought bird feeders and houses for my yard, giving me a wonderful, up-close view of these marvelous creatures. Two weeks ago a friend was visiting who has had an active interest in birds for years. She was struck by the incredible quantity and variety of birds in our area and she remarked that my wife and I were becoming “birders.”
“Birders,” she explained, “are people who see a bird and look twice, to see what it is and observe its behavior. We can learn so much from these delightful creatures.”
Whether or not I will ever approach the level of an expert birder, like my friend, remains to be seen. But I now have all the tools at my disposal. For one thing, I’m paying attention. Then there’s the living laboratory, right outside my window. And of course there’s the reference books, that I check when I see a bird I don’t know, not to mention my conversations with expert birders who can encourage and guide me along the way.
This is the process to becoming an expert in just about anything. We need to get interested, pay attention, conduct experiments, read, and talk to people. In other words, we need to get curious and educated. If we want to become “healthy, wealthy, and wise,” then we need educate ourselves about the things that make for health, wealth, and wisdom. We need to get interested in these things, pay attention, conduct experiments, read, and talk to people. In two years time, you too can be well on your way to becoming a “healthy, wealthy, and wise” expert.
Think back to where you were two years ago. What have you studied? What have you learned? Unfortunately, many people haven’t studied or learned much of anything, unless it was required by their school or work. Curiosity, which Christina writes about in this week’s Snack, and life-long learning are the exception rather than the rule.
More than once I have talked with a prospective client, only to hear him or her say, “I wish I had called you two years ago. I knew I wasn’t going in the right direction. Then I got laid off with four months severance. I figured I would get back to work once my severance was gone, but it just didn’t happen. So I went on unemployment and now that’s running out. If two years ago I had just started nursing school, I could be wrapping up my education and looking for work in a field with no shortage of opportunities! But the clock is ticking and I’m under the gun financially. What do you suggest I do now?”
Of course we explore the expressed interest in nursing school, because it may still be the best course of action. Anytime a coach runs head on into such a strong expression of inherent ambition, it begs to be taken seriously and built upon.
But the sad reality is that all too many people go through life thinking about but never acting upon their dreams. For one reason or another, they fall into the camp of those who look at things the way they are, and ask, “Why?” Coaching assists people to shift into the camp of those who dream of things that might be, and ask, “Why not?”
In other words, coaching assists people to get passionate about and going in their chosen field of interest. We develop people into experts, not by training them ourselves, but by quickening their interest and encouraging their growth. As with the birds, the process of becoming an expert is really not that complicated. It’s a matter of getting interested, paying attention, conducting experiments, reading, and talking to others.
That’s how I developed my expertise, such as it is, in the area of health and wellness. A heart scare back in 1998 was the impetus for getting interested. Then I started paying attention, conducting experiments, reading, and talking with others. By getting educated I was able to lose 65 pounds of excess body fat, to become an avid marathon runner, and to launch my career as a LifeTrek coach. Coaching has become the key to sustainability.
Now I see this happening again in the area of money and wealth. Understanding the process and how it works, I simply made the decision to get interested, pay attention, conduct experiments, read, and talk to others in order to improve my financial IQ.
I have learned, for example, about the advantages to holding assets and doing business through corporations and partnerships. LifeTrek Coaching International was my first, but certainly not my last, venture. They offer tax advantages, liability protection, and tremendous wealth-building potential.
I have also learned about the importance of real estate to building a secure financial future. By getting interested, paying attention, conducting experiments, reading, and talking with others, my wife and I have now put together our first real estate venture.
These are just two examples of how knowledge can change the world. Had we never gotten educated about the use of corporations and real estate, we would never have taken action. How could we? We wouldn’t have even known the right questions to ask, let alone the right businesses to start and investments to make.
But once we got educated, we could begin to put our hand to the plough. Whatever losses we experience along the way are all part of the educational process. They pale in comparison to the learning and contacts that can be used in future ventures. Today’s successes and failures are the things that make for tomorrow’s dreams.
Perhaps this is why Benjamin Franklin became famous, among many other things, for his quip, that “God helps those who help themselves.” If we don’t get interested, pay attention, conduct experiments, read, and talk to others there really isn’t much for God to work with and build upon. But once we get educated, the sky really is the limit as to what we can do with the blessing of God.
Do you see the challenging simplicity of this process? It starts with our getting passionately interest in something. Then we start paying attention in order to learn more. We conduct experiments to see what works and what doesn’t work. We also read and talk to people in order to benefit from the experience of others.
How hard is that? It certainly isn’t rocket science! Anyone can do this exact same thing in any chosen field of interest. If you want to be “healthy, wealthy, and wise,” then get educated and get going. It’s not beyond your reach.
Coaching Inquiries: What are your interests? Are you learning more about them on a regular basis? Are you taking action on the things you learn and know? Would a coach assist you to get moving? Let us know if you want to learn more.
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
Thank you for your hard work and the great amount of research. I look forward each week to learn. Your sight give me something to ponder and reflect on in my own busy life.
After more than a year of enjoying your Provisions, I feel as if you are reading my mind. You choose deep topics, those we always wanted to ask about but never even knew how to begin with. Congratulations!!!
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
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