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Becoming a Lifelong Learner: How to Find JOY in Everyday Learning

Being open to new experiences and diverse opportunities is at the forefront of becoming a lifelong student.

By Sara Dickison Taylor

Sara Dickison Taylor, ACC, is an iRelaunch recommended coach and President & Founder, Celebrate Life by Design, LLC. A member of the International Coaching Federation, Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College and is also a graduate of the internationally recognized Coach University. As noted above, Sara studied her coaching craft with Dr. Martha Beck, renowned columnist for O Magazine and New York Times bestselling author.

When we emerge from our cozy comfort zones and stretch ourselves, the magic of learning and the thirst for knowledge and creativity shine brightly. Here are a few tidbits to awaken the lifelong learner in all of us. In the famous words of Mary Poppins…”anything is possible, if you let it!”

The Art of Dreaming and Scheming

In this world of instant gratification, it’s important to think outside the box and see how best to absorb all this information at hand. What is your best learning preference? Are you auditory, visual, tactile, environmental, visual, experimental? Often times our past stories are dictated by traditional learning routes from school or university. Don’t be stuck in the story of how you once showed up as a student - let this be FUN and just for YOU! It’s not about the destination or the performance, but the creative journey of stretching your brain and fueling your heart. Take time to honor how you learn best. Capture that essence in everything you set out to foster.

Schedule It!

As with anything, nothing will occur if it’s not in your calendar! It’s crucial to set aside time and intentionally dig in. With the busy coordination of kids, caregiving for parents or other work/volunteer obligations, it’s easy to let overwhelm nestle in. At the end of the day we often feel we can’t take on new pursuits or stretch our experiences even further. Carving out little snippets of time, often in places we least expect, is a great way begin. I always have a book or my Kindle app handy while I’m waiting at a doctor’s appointment or traveling for work. Podcasts are another fun way to flex your curiosity muscle and be inspired. Grab your dog and listen to one of your favorite podcasts or audio books - even during your daily commute or washing the dinner dishes. Little bursts of inspiration go a long way to recharge that inner student.

Be In An Environment That Fosters Learning

As a life and leadership coach, I know first hand the importance of “walking the walk to talk the talk.” Getting out of our comfort zone often requires additional support and connecting to other like-minded people. Grab a friend and sign up for the local meditation workshop you’ve had your eyes on for a while. Is there a lecture you could attend at a nearby library or university that sparks your fancy? Online courses are also a great way to dip your toe in the water and taste a bit of something new, often not expensive or carrying a hefty tuition. You could also take the plunge and dedicate a long weekend to a retreat workshop of sorts ... writing, art, yoga? Or hire a coach to finally jumpstart and brainstorm your next career. Maybe now is the time to research a new vacation spot where you can surround yourself in a different culture or language. The list is endless. The main point: just GO FOR IT!

The Wonder Of Curiosity

One of the reasons I love coaching so much is I get to really dig in and appreciate my clients, helping them peel away limiting beliefs to reveal what truly matters most. Through the eyes of a child we often remember the joy in play. Ask yourself, what do you miss most when you were younger? An old art hobby, dance class? Perhaps you kept a journal and studied flowers in the backyard or planted a vegetable garden? Is there a language you’d like to brush up on or even learn a new one? Start a short list of books you’d love to read or even re-read. Maybe start a book club (or show up at the one you let slip long ago!) Where can you spark JOY in your lifelong pursuit of learning? There is magic in infinite possibility and the world is your oyster - soak it in and let the learning BEGIN!!

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