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It’s back to the day job for me this week (cue the violins), but that doesn’t mean I’m off the hook with learning new things. In fact, it means that I’ll be working doubly hard because I’ll be learning in my downtime. Except… It doesn’t feel like work. It feels exciting and fun.
My husband has been singing the praises of Udemy for a long time now and he finally wore me down. On Sunday morning, I started an amazing Udemy Course by Rob Percival called The Complete Web Developer Course (2.0). Don’t let the 2.0 fool you, it’s just an updated version, you can jump right in without prerequisites. This course covers a TON and for $10 ($10! That’s like two coffees at Starbucks!). I received a ton of freebies with it, including a ebook on how to make some money while you’re learning to code, a free year of web hosting, three free WordPress themes, and 2 free shots at getting a Web Developer Accreditation. Seriously, it’s crazy what you get for just $10.
(As a side note, Udemy is holding a 75% off sale right now, so if there’s anything you want to learn, I highly suggest you check it out. Between Lynda.com and Udemy, I greatly prefer Udemy. I am not getting a single cent for promoting them, it’s just been that great of an experience that I feel compelled to share.)
But I digress. Here’s the real heart of what I’ve learned this week:
Sometimes following your passions looks like hard work, but once you jump in it’s way more fun than you anticipated. I’m typically a quick study on many things, but I didn’t expect to enjoy learning Adobe Illustrator or Web Design so much.
I tucked and rolled out of my comfort zone. It was terrifying but I’m having a blast. Putting your toe into the water can be scary, but if you never do it, how will you know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at? Even when you’ve failed, you’ve still learned something new about yourself. As a culture we have a tendency to tell people to take the secure route. Even if that means staying at a job that makes you gain 20+lbs and have panic attacks. For several months I have agonized over where I would go (because my job is pretty specialized), how I would escape this job, but felt completely and utterly trapped. It wasn’t until I read 48 Days to the Work You Love that I had a “DOH!” Moment.
In 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller, he explains how monkeys are caught in the wild. The extremely short version is that a trapper will hollow out a gourd or coconut, and place nuts inside. The monkey smells them, reaches in, and won’t let go. Because the monkey won’t surrender, the trapper has the monkey and that’s that, off to the monkey farm with him. Now apply that same principle to benefits or security at a job – we find it hard to let go of either of those things. As humans we’re so worried about security that we won’t leave a toxic environment because the unknown is so much scarier. Better the Devil you know, so to speak. Quite frankly, I’m tired of living that way. I don’t want to be a stressed out mess anymore. I don’t want to come home too exhausted to be really tuned into my husband and kids. I don’t want to dread going to work anymore. I’ve also realized that I can apply the same leadership and professional concepts anywhere I go; my organization does not own me or my soul.
Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I should have pursued web and graphic design all along. I showed a strong interest and knock for web design as early as my young teens (13, to be exact). I’m so incredibly glad that I’ve come back to it, but I wish I would have stayed with it all along.
It’s never too late to learn and grow. Just because I’m 30 doesn’t mean that I have to stay in the same career until I’m 60. In fact, when I stop and think about it now, it’s actually ridiculous that I would spend the next 25-30 years of my life in the same exact building where I’m already two steps away from being as high as I can possibly go. Jon Acuff’s book Start actually mentions this new workplace dynamic, saying that the traditional go to college/find a job/work there and master it until you retire/THEN and ONLY Then, enjoy your life model no longer exists. People start new careers and businesses in their 40’s, 50’s, and beyond all the time. If they can do it, I certainly have no excuse.
So what did you learn this week? What things are you finally starting?