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Taking Your Next Step (Part 1 of 3): Personal Learning Network

Guest post by Kevin Flora (Cross post from kevinflora.com

The beginning to taking your next step in life will start with a personal learning network.  Two phrases come to mind when thinking about the personal learning network: 

  • Birds of a feather flock together – A similar phrase would be “you are who you hang with”.  If you have a group of individuals that you are constantly around, either you will have an influence on them, or they will have an influence on you.
  • Your income can be estimated as the mean income of your friends – This lesson comes from a great podcast I have been listening to, Entrepreneur on Fire.  If this formula proves true, and you are looking to increase your income, then your friend group would contribute.

Think back to when you were growing up.  Whether you were the ringleader or just a member in a group of individuals, the individuals around you helped to shape the person that you were at the time.  As we grow older, we begin to fade away from the idea that others around us can mold us into something other than what we want to become.  The reality is, those around us can indirectly influence us to extremes we didn’t even know to be possible.  We can sometimes catch a glimpse of other’s influence in our lives in hindsight.  When is the last time you had a hard evaluation of who you surround yourself with?  What influence are you having on those around you?  And what influence do others have on you?

So what does a personal learning network look like?  I have seen this in many different ways.  Personally, many personal learning networks exist in my day-to-day life.  I have a group of friends who keep in touch with my routine happenings and question the purpose behind much of what I do.  I also have identified a number of individuals who I meet with individually to gain insight and wisdom into problems throughout my life.  There are times I won’t call them up for a few months and other times where I count on them to be present once a week.  I don’t expect each person to come running when I call, but I know that I can rely on them to follow through.  Likewise, I am ready in a moment’s notice to run to their doorstep in any situation.  To benefit from a strong personal learning network, each relationship should either be reciprocal or you putting in more time and effort than the other.

Your next step for today is to evaluate your current personal learning network and see if you can add to, take away from, or strengthen your relationships for your benefit.  You can put together a personal learning network based on almost any situation, attitude, habit, or practice you would like to see increased (or decreased). 

IMAGE credit from Flickr user Archbob.

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