Learn or Become Irrelevant

Later this morning I’ll be speaking to a group of hospital marketing executives about social media, content marketing, and public relations. They approached me through one of my social channels (unheard of just a few short years ago) and asked me if I’d be willing to share my thoughts regarding integrating new media into the digital marketing mix. They understand the marketing landscape has changed and the importance of a strategy to address those changes.

Learn or become irrelevant.

Whether a marketing team that needs to learn more about new media or an individual that needs to improve his or her skills within their discipline, learning is a lifelong pursuit—or at least it should be.

I have a colleague who’s writing abilities were challenged a few years back. Rather than sit back and bemoan the insult, he decided to do something about it. He rolled up his sleeves, designed and build a personal website and blog, and started writing. Over the years I’ve observed that this is how he approaches everything in his life. His willingness to continually learn propels his career forward. And, while most people insist upon being the teacher, my friend excels as a teacher because he is committed to being a life-long learner.

About this time last year I spoke with Tom Cooper of the Brighthill Group who asked me, “What’s your EVE ratio?”

If you’re not sure what an EVE ratio is, you’re not alone. I didn’t know either. It’s the ratio of investment you make in education vs. entertainment. Tom suggests (and I wholeheartedly agree) that we need to regularly invest in our careers and leadership skills. Over the last several years small businesses have invested less and less in training opportunities for their employees. Frankly, many just don’t have the money to make the investments they once did. Because of that, whether your a business owner or an employee, it’s important to invest in yourself.

I try to spend time every month either reading books, attending webinars or other events to help me become better at my job—and I’m willing to pay for it myself. Particularly with tight budgets and organizations less willing to pay employees for personal development, it’s important to continually make that investment in yourself. For example, over the last couple of years I’ve become a huge fan of Audible and take advantage of my commute each day to keep up to date on thoughts and ideas that will make me better at what I do. That being said, my EVE ratio is probably still weighted on the entertainment side.

Have you ever considered how much time and money you invest in entertainment vs. education? I’m pretty convinced that if you’re not willing to invest in your education and career, nobody else will either.


About the Author

  • Ty Kiisel

Small business evangelist and veteran of over 30 years in the trenches of Main Street business, Ty makes small business financing and trends accessible in common sense language devoid of the jargon. Ty writes about small business financing and other best practices for Lendio, in addition to sharing his passion for small business every week on Forbes.com. He's also the author of the book, Getting a Business Loan: Financing Your Main Street Business.

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  1. You are absolutely right “learning is a lifelong pursuit—or at least it should be.” License professionals have continue education coursed to complete, it helps professionals stay current in their practice. Why shouldn’t others learn to master their fields or learn a new field?

    It wasn’t long ago that things got financial rough. As the economy melted so did my business. After the 2008 crash I found myself irrelevant to the new job market, I knew I needed new tools so I took my savings, went back to college, and finished the Business Degree I started years ago.

    The rewards from going back to college have been priceless. The new education helped me transition from Mortgage Banker Executive (for fifteen years) to Apps + Mobile Websites Developer Executive at MobisiteX.com A completely different career, in a cutting edge field in less than three years, and loving it!

    The balance of your EVE and investing in yourself even when someone else won’t can be life changing.

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