Continued professional development is probably the number 1, most essential, important, necessary, positively only thing you should be focused on first and foremost every damned day.
If you don’t learn at least one new thing a day, in my opinion, that day was not lived up to its full potential. No matter how small that new knowledge may be, do you know more than you did yesterday?
I really panicked this time last year, I knew I would be leaving my “steady income job” and going it alone as my first year self employed. How the hell was I going to afford to go on courses and continue learning!?
…Turns out, I’m actually alright, and just booked a hand balancing course! But! Here is what I learned:
- Let’s see… Google exists.
- I have an abundance of friends all with years of experience with skills I haven’t even touched yet.
- YouTube exists.
- There are phenomenal coaches all around the world that just genuinely want to help people
- Podcasts exist.
- There are schools and clubs that teach everything you want to learn in your local area.
So, number 1, Google. Any time I recommend something by name, and the person replies “Great! But how do I find it?” I die a little inside, look up the link and send it to them… then wonder how they put socks on and don’t fall over more. Seriously, ok, as I am writing this it is 6.14pm, I’m going to find a link to learn how to reshoe a horse right now…
Oh look, it’s 6.17pm and I now know that horses need different size shoes for the front and back feet and sometimes they can even be different! Which is hilarious on its own! Imagine! A HORSE SHOE SHOP!!! All the horses showing up with their parents standing discussing about how their foals are getting so big and this is the third pair this year!! The struggle is real! Would I be confident re-shoeing a horse? No, do I now have a better understanding of it and would be able to have a good go at a proper lesson with a professional? Yes! Will this information ever serve me? … Well you’re sitting reading it right now and hopefully understanding what I am talking about so that’s a big fat yes. (Owned!)
This works for anything, does it make you an expert? No, but if you check out a few different pages and find similarities in what everyone is saying, it gives you a damned good gist of it!
I did this with pain research and injury rehabilitation. If Bob can be in a near fatal accident and crush his spine and be able to ice skate one year later… why can Jimmy down the road who threw his back out lifting his shopping off the kitchen floor not go back to work?
There are so many case studies online and techniques, luckily for me I am friends with lots of physiotherapists, chiropractors and doctors who’s brains I can pick about these studies and ask their opinions. Amazingly enough, they were really intrigued by what I was actually talking about, saying their courses didn’t really go that deep into it and most of the experience they have is working with real people and drawn from their own experience.
Bringing me on to my next point, if I have 10 friends that all do 10 different things and just take the time to find out more about them, what they do and what they enjoy… I just learned 10 things, for free! Anyone that ever talks to me always has some sort of mobility problem. Chances are if we chat for 20 minutes (even if I’m not working) I’ll give you a drill. When people are passionate about what they do, they talk. Invite your friends out more, talk more, build your relationships.
Now “Coach YouTube” you have to be careful with. If you have a good amount of experience and have located the elusive ‘common sense’ then yes, it is possible to further your knowledge from reputable coaches on YouTube. There are full seminars on YouTube devoted to EVERYTHING. Find a coach you love, search for them, search for seminars and lap it up. Some of the best mobility drills and ideas I learned have come from a video with crappy sound quality in a sports hall with eight people… sometimes in different languages. Facebook live is another one, people are so scared of dead air time they give away EVERYTHING. If a coach you like mentions another coach it is in your best interest to write it down immediately and go find them.
There are four coaches that I follow in particular, they are really nice, knowledgable people that just want to spread the information they have to help people have better lives. That is my aspiration, to be even half as helpful and inspirational as they have been to me. Yes they have products online that they sell to make a living but honestly, an hour a day on their YouTube channel and you can learn more than some year long PT courses.
Podcasts should be treated like your schooling. Minimum one a week with someone that inspires you. Finding the little daily habits of people that do what you want to do is the trick. If someone’s doing something that you aren’t, and they’re where you want to be… there’s your solution. Everyone is copying everyone at the end of the day, there is only so much good stuff to go around. Your unique selling point could be your ability to connect with people: trust me, this is a big planet, there are a lot of people…. like, I’d say hundreds! Maybe thousands!
Local gymnastic schools and clubs are usually run by experienced teachers, you cannot beat real life experience and it’s a crying shame to see some stupidly intelligent, experienced people not allowed to coach because they don’t have a piece of paper given to them by a f**king twenty year old. Have you devoted forty years of your life to something you love? You’re not insured? That’s ok, teach me.
Common sense comes in to play again: if you don’t question someone that’s teaching you their methods or make them back up their techniques with experience, and you get hurt… I’m sorry but I’m kinda gonna blame you too.
Classes are run all the time in these places, ideally private training is the best way, but if you’re really on a budget you should be trying to stretch to a few group sessions per week, how can coaches preach about coaching and not have coaches?
So there you have it! Get creative with how you learn: the more sources of information you search for, the better you get at it. Plus the biggest takeaway is, if you learn something because it made you feel intrigued, you’ll be more likely to retain that information over something you’re forced to learn just to pass a test.
Learn. Practice. Play.