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How Are You Learning in 2020?
05 September, 2020

How Are You Learning in 2020?

/ 10 months ago

by Jake Lenz, President & Co-Founder, HomeField Alliance

For pretty much everyone, COVID has been not only a change in how we go about our lives, but a complete disruption in how we live them. It has been a similar story professionally for those in the sports and entertainment industry, as seasons were delayed and shifted into bubbles and teams laid off and furloughed employees. While this time has proven to be challenging and plans for the year have changed, there has also been a more positive note as of late – one that asks “How can we make the most of the situation?”

It’s a fair question when you think about how the lives of those in our industry have changed – no late nights in-venue, a commute that has pretty much been eliminated and, for some, reduced hours and workloads. What have people been doing with this time?

Some spent the first few months adjusting to the new normal, which took more energy than anything else. Some baked bread and others laced up their running shoes. Whatever it was, it felt like everyone was picking up hobbies for the first time or for the first time in a while. People were productive, flour was nowhere to be found, and you couldn’t find exercise equipment anywhere on Amazon.

Then it felt like everyone hit a wall. Whether it was not enough variation in the routine or everyone perfected their sourdough is hard to tell, but it felt like there was a dip in the novelty that came from being enclosed in the safety of our homes. Maybe it was the weight of what was going on outside of the house – whether COVID-related or the calls for social justice.

But a couple months ago, it seemed as if people were starting to get back into the swing of things. Maybe it was the middle of Summer that energized people and gave them energy back, or maybe it’s just the flow of how emotions go during a pandemic. It seemed as if MasterClass ads were back on TV (or maybe I was just noticing them again) and that LinkedIn was aflutter with content again (or I was just checking it again).

What it ultimately shows is that there’s a desire to make the most of what is going on right now. If we’re going to be stagnated or set-back in our careers during this time, then shouldn’t we take the same approach?

So what (and how) can you learn? What are some inexpensive (or even free) ways to make sure that when your day goes back to normal, you’re able to apply new or developed skills? Consider some of the following as great ways to take advantage of this time:

Take online courses from a service like Coursera or MasterClass

Services like these are a great way to engage with a subject you’ve always wanted to learn about, whether it’s a new language, personal development or business skill. These programs range from $15-$79 per month depending on the service or type of specialization you’re taking.

MasterClass lets you learn from an expert in a field, such as Anna Wintour or Serena Williams, and allows you to dive into these individuals’ thought processes and approaches to their work. Coursera on the other hand consists of college and university courses, and includes curricula and programs taught by professors from accredited institutions.

Find a new mentor or mentee

Bringing a new mentor or mentee into your career does a couple of things. First, and maybe most important right now, it forces you to regularly engage with someone from outside your traditional bubble or group. While it might mean yet another Zoom call, it provides perspective from someone else dealing with COVID differently and, because of COVID, the opportunity exists for long-term mentorship, now more than ever, with most interactions still in “virtual’ mode.

Second, and still of great importance, it gives you someone to navigate alongside. It’s that simple. Having a rough day and not near your work buddy to commiserate and ask for advice? Text your mentor. Laid off and not sure where to go from here? Work with a mentor who can help keep you on track and navigate the job hunt. It’s not all that different than the way you use a mentor traditionally, but it gives you someone else in your corner when the number of people we have in arm’s reach on a daily basis has been drastically reduced.

Pick up a new book

This seems obvious, but it’s an area where people seem to either completely hit the gas pedal or slam the brakes on. If you have a bunch of books in your Amazon wish list – pick one that you think will help. Wake up 30 minutes early (probably still later than you were waking up before) and read to start or end your day.

Whatever you do, whether it’s one of the above or something we didn’t include on the list, set the intention and make it count for you. It can be hard to set time to focus on one’s self right now – a lot of days feel like just getting through them was a success – and that’s okay. Just make sure you’re feeding your mind and taking care of yourself as you would your body, heart and soul.

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