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Success and the Learned Professional

It is not really a new idea that the professional who continually seeks to expand their knowledge and skills is more likely to succeed than their less motivated counterpart. Yet, I’ve often wondered, what does it mean to be a dedicated life-long learner? More specifically, how does an aspiring professional continue to grow and learn so that she may succeed?

Frank Bettger’s book, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling is a classic read that, in addition to portraying his “from rags to riches” story as a salesman, also conveys the benefits of being dedicated to disciplined self-education.

Reading is one way of being studious!

To learn literally means to change one’s behavior! This might be contrary to what our educational system would have you believe – that to learn means to regurgitate information for a test. Allow me to illustrate how knowledge itself does not mean one has learned. I know, that if I want to stay physically fit, I should exercise daily. Ideally to maintain a healthy heart, I should spend no-less than 30 minutes on cardiovascular exercise a day. I know this, yet I do not do this!

Let me say this again, to learn means to change one’s behavior. When was the last time that you did something differently because of what you learned? Take a moment to think about that, I’ll be here for a while!

The best way to learn is by doing!

Your life experiences are the best learning opportunities. I would wager a bet that the most commonly used phrase in Bettger’s book was, “What I learned from that experience was….” And what he learned was more than just an interesting fact or notion, he learned a new way of operating, a better way of conducting business, an improved way of presenting himself. Bettger literally learned how to raise himself from failure to success.

His book is peppered with stories, of his own experiences and of others. These stories are vivid illustrations that demonstrate the power of learning; the power of not only changing but improving your behavior for a better performance. And interspersed with these stories of his experiences are the titles of books that he read and the names of lectures that he attended. He applied the knowledge that was passed down to him in those venues to his own life experiences, the result of which was his vast success.

We are all our own best teacher when we learn from our experiences!

Sometimes we stumble upon success. We happen to do things in just the right manner, at just the right time and as a result we win – we win the opportunity, the contract, or the job! But taking a blind approach like that does not ensure your lasting success (especially in, need I say it….this economy). It is not too late to take a more proactive stance with your own professional development.

If you are at the top of your game today, you will want to continue learning so that you may remain there. And if you are striving to achieve the vision of success you have yourself, you will want to learn so that you can get there. I recommend reading Bettger’s book so that you may learn how to learn! Oh, and there happens to be some really inspiring recommendations for succeeding in selling too.

We will be discussing How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling at the May 10th EntrepreNerds meeting.  For more information or to sign up, visit us

This blog originally appeared on the Fort Collins Digital Workshop blog.

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