School Days, School Days

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It’s a matter of weeks until the academic year begins anew. Remember the anticipation and excitement you felt when starting a new school year?

Although our school days may be far behind us, this time of year should remind us of the importance of continued learning and education. Of course, CFPs are required to earn 30 continuing education credits every two-year certification period. But far too often, this can feel like an obligation rather than an exhilarating opportunity.

Learning: The Fountain of Youth

Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Well, Ford had a point. If for no other reason, we should stay focused on learning simply to keep ourselves young and vibrant!

Ask yourself:

  • Have you lost your zest for learning with age?
  • Have you gotten to a point where you feel like you know it all?
  • Is there anything new you want to learn?
  • Can you think of better ways to use your time and energy than learning something new?
  • Have you gotten sloppy about learning, simply putting in the time rather than applying the lesson?
  • Do you haphazardly study various topics instead of focusing on areas most crucial to your future?

A Team Approach

One way to rekindle your passion for learning is to create an annual learning and development plan for your firm. Inventory the new skill sets, intellectual capabilities, or technology expertise that would benefit your practice. Also consider your business plan: Of all the things you could spend time and money learning, what would most help you achieve your vision?

Once you’ve decided on your learning objectives, divvy out assignments to each staff member. Here’s the twist: Once they learn about the topic, have them come back to the firm and teach the new content to the rest of the team. After all, perhaps the best approach to learning is to teach someone else.

What’s Your Strategy?

How do you maintain your enthusiasm for learning? How do you decide which areas are most important to study?

Joni Youngwirth
Managing Principle of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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