In life, we can never stay on the same level. Standing still is not an option. As the world moves forward, if we stop learning, we not only stop growing, we're actually moving backward. The faster the pace of the world, the more we need to keep learning.
Grant writers are no exception, in fact, staying abreast of developments in grant research, proposal writing, how to win government contracts, and help clients with grant management once grants are obtained, can be a full-time job.
Education can be formal or informal. It can include taking courses, going to workshops, seminars, and conferences, getting an advanced degree, or reading and studying on your own. Watching lectures and how-to videos by experts on YouTube, listening to podcasts and audiobooks to learn new skills in your areas of interest and gain new proficiencies, are all no- or low-cost ways to stay abreast of any new trends, advancements or best practices happening in the field.
Confucius said, "Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace."
According to Abraham Maslow, the American positive psychologist best known for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs, "We're always growing or stepping back into safety." In order to keep growing, developing and advancing, continuing education is crucial for anyone who wants to succeed in their career.
"The acquisition of knowledge is a pathway to prosperity. Spend time each day investing in yourself by learning something new. Education pays more dividends than the stock market." says Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch, MWBEzone, Grant Writer Team and YouHelp.
As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” So, for nonprofits wanting to change the world and business owners wanting to make a difference, it's not about formal training. Being an autodidact, learning on your own is a great way to grow as well as getting degrees.
Professional Development and Career Advancement
Here are 4 reasons for grant writers and other professionals to continue to read, take classes, go to workshops and conferences in your profession, according to blogger Darius Foroux, in his post "Education."
1. Making Better Decisions for Professional Development
You make better decisions when you educate yourself, look at the facts, and research everything. Never underestimate that the quality of your decisions will shape the outcome of your life and career.
2. More Opportunities
Keep an open mind and keep learning for professional development and career advancement. "Education opens your mind and more importantly, it increases your opportunities. People who are closed-minded and stick to what they know will never change. And change is the forward driving force of life," explains Foroux.
"By educating yourself, you might think about things you’ve never thought of before. And you will be exposed to ideas you’ve never heard about. Combine those things together, and you have enough ideas and opportunities for a lifetime," he adds.
Foroux suggests keeping a notebook and writing down new ideas as they come to you. "You'll keep growing if you keep learning every day." Plus, he says, new ideas will come to you easily, without force.
3. The more you learn, the more you'll earn!
Be the type of job applicant and employee that adds to a company, bringing ideas and ways to develop and contribute. Keep developing your skills so you can find the weaknesses in a company or nonprofit and help them improve.
"There are also two types of entrepreneurs," explains Foroux: "One says: 'Pick me! Buy my product! Please! I will do business with anyone.' The other says: 'I only create exceptional products/services for a specific group of people. If it’s not for you; no sweat.'
"Entrepreneur 1 creates commodities. The other entrepreneur creates products/services that are unmissable."
To become like the second entrepreneurs, you need to, "Become so good that people depend on your goods or services. How? You guessed it again: Learn, practice, be great," he writes.
4. Education Is The Only Life-Long Investment
According to Benjamin Franklin, “If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
The only possession you will never lose is knowledge, if you keep investing in it. If you learn how to build a business, even if you lose it all, you will be able to start again and make the money back. In addition, "If you have a skill that people depend on, you will never be out of a job," or lack for clients or customers if you're self-employed.
Stay abreast of developments in your field. Read all the books and take all the courses you can that are relevant to your goals and aspirations. Spend much of your free time on learning and gaining new skills for professional development and career advancement.
Foroux says he spends most of his "Learning new things, going to new places, and meeting interesting people… It’s not easy. In fact, learning, studying, getting degrees, mastering skills, are all one of the hardest things in life."
See Darius Foroux's blogs and reading list on his website. One of the books he lists, On Managing Yourself, starts with a statement that sums up his philosophy, “The path to your professional success starts with a critical look in the mirror.” "This collection does not disappoint," says Foroux. "Every piece will make you think more about your mission, vision, strengths, weaknesses, and how you can advance your career."
"I actually prioritize education over food, relationships, health, clothes, and the other things of life. You know why? If I don’t, the other things are not as good. And it’s very simple. My goal is to read/learn/practice just 30 minutes a day. That’s not a lot to ask for, right? Because if you don’t have 30 minutes to spend on your education; what kind of life do you have?" concludes Foroux.
Education is crucial and we need to learn something new every day. Many people will start, but those who persist are the people who will truly advance in their lives and careers.