Pay Now or Pay Later

I had some questions about a post where I talked about information overload and trying to get answers for yourself. (Reminder: I am a big proponent of self-learning. I do it all the time. That’s why I can speak with such authority about the drawbacks that come along with it.)

I had to point out that if you are trying to learn it all yourself (usually done in an attempt to save money), you are actually going the expensive (and often painful) route.

It is expensive because in order to learn what you need for right now (when self-taught), you also have to learn what you need next month, next year, and five years down the road. You have to do that.

Why? Because, if you don’t learn the whole thing (before you really start), you won’t know what really comes first, what should happen second, then next, and next and….

While a few people can do that, you know what happens with most of us? We learn the first couple of things, and then we give up. The way most of us are wired, we need to start putting what we have learned to some kind of use. If we don’t, a couple of things happen:

1. We lose our motivation… and thus, our attention.
2. We forget what we have “learned”, already. (Learned is in quotes because we didn’t really learn it… we accessed the information, but because we didn’t have the opportunity to put it into action, it was quickly overwritten with new information.)

So, the way to really “get” it, is to learn the first step and then use it. Put it into action. Implement. Then, learn the next step. Do it. Then the next.

Each piece that you implement gives you feedback and you can make course corrections as you learn the next step.

Back when I was programming (and later when I was managing programmers), I quickly learned that the best way to teach myself a new programming language (or a new way to apply one I already knew) was to have a project to use it on. Trying to proactively learn it just never got anywhere. But, learning it to apply to an at-hand project made it real. It gave me feedback as to what I needed to learn. And to what was correct and what was ineffective (if not downright disastrous.)

If you have taken a course where you really learned something, you probably went through the same experience. You were given the information (from an instructor, a book, a video, etc.), then given an exercise (or two) that required you to use what you had just been told. After you had done the exercise, you had a much better understanding of the information and how to use it. Then, you moved to the next lesson which built on the knowledge you gained from the previous lesson. And the pattern repeated.

(I realize that you may have had classes in school where it was just information followed by information followed by more information. How much of that do you actually have, now? You see what I mean?)

So, back to your business.

If you don’t know what you need to know… and what order to learn it in… how can you learn what you need so you can make your business successful on your own?

And that is why I said that your fastest way to success in your business is to get a guide… a mentor… someone who has been down that trail and can tell you what you need… and when.

Yep. You will likely have to pay someone for it. You are NOT paying for their time. You are paying for their hard-won knowledge, their experience, and their mistakes. The faster you want to go, the more you are likely to pay… because the guidance needs to be customized for your business, for your personality, and for your goals.

But here’s the thing to remember… you are going to be paying a lot more if you do it yourself. (The payments may be spread out longer, but loss of money (and time) while you are learning is something that can’t be regained.)

If you aren’t in too much of a hurry, you can go to seminars and training that will lay out what most people need to do… and the order they should do it in. It’s not as good as a personal guide or mentor, but it is better than trying to learn it all on your own.

One of the things you need to do is to decide how quickly you want/need to be a success. The answer to that determines how much you should invest in a guide to help you get there.

Looking for a guide to help you? I may or may not be the right one to help you, but we’ll never know if we don’t talk. Go ahead and contact me. If we aren’t the right match, I’ll do my best to point you to someone who would be.

What experiences have you had (good and bad) in trying to learn things on your own? Share with us in the comments and let us all benefit from your experience.

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