Originally published on Entrepreneur Magazine on October 15, 2015.
Learning is an amazing gift that we all have available to us. However, there is another side to learning that will prevent your success. It is quite common for entrepreneurs to seek out as much knowledge as possible to discover new strategies and tactics to take their business to the next level. Unfortunately, too much learning can also get in the way of your growth.
- Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content.
- Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
- Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.
- Email users send over 200 million messages.
With all this content and stuff to learn, it’s no wonder why you may feel confused and hesitate taking action required to move forward.
Here are five ways learning can hurt your success in business:
1. Learning can be information overload
Learning is often perceived as noble and time well spent. While it can lead to something new, it can also be an overload. Learning for the sake of learning will have you seeking all kinds of information that you might need someday. The problem is the learning you take in for that someday keeps you from taking action today. The key to success is not in the learning — it is in the implementation of select learning.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Gerber, the New York Times best selling author of The E-Myth Revisited. He makes the point that “the rate of business success has not changed with the Internet, because it is not the lack of information that is holding businesses back. It is the failure to take a good idea and put it into action.”
2. Learning lacks context to who you are.
We are unique. We come with our own talents and skills. But when someone creates information, they do not take into account your own uniqueness. The learning lacks context because it applies to the broad set of entrepreneurs, not just you and your talents.
This causes even more confusion for you as the learner and what exactly your next action is.
3. Learning has no regard for sequence.
Just as we are all unique, we are also in different stages of our businesses. Sequence of action to grow your business is rarely even thought about or taught. Let’s take learning to speak from the stage to grow your business as an example. There are tons of steps to using speaking and getting business from it. And the order in which you learn about these steps does matter:
- Getting the gig
- Preparing content
- Delivering content
- Selling from the stage
- Creating powerful graphics
- Developing your website
My point is that it is all important, but it has a sequence that must be understood. It’s up to you to decide which order is most important. This is usually overlooked when learning.
Your business growth has a specific sequence too. Define your own sequence based on the stage you are in right now. Think critically.
4. Learning is not a silver bullet.
Learning from all the available experts can give you different perspectives on any given topic. One expert may say, “grow your business by writing a book” and another may say, “start a podcast or focus on becoming a speaker.” All the so-called experts are giving you their perspective of what worked for them — their silver bullets to success. The issue is there is no silver bullet that is right for everyone. You have to find your one area to focus on right now for your business.
5. Learning prevents action.
Learning can be a powerful step in your journey to a new future. In fact, it is required. But if your focus on learning overwhelms you to the point that you rarely apply what you learn, you and your business will suffer. You must put learning into action and continuously fine tune your strategies. Too many entrepreneurs seek the sage advice of the pros and rarely do anything with it. This is something I personally know all too well!
For many entrepreneurs, there is compulsive information consumption. This is usually related to the fear of not measuring up. This is a common fear among entrepreneurs and business owners as they seek out everything that they will need for that wayward someday. The information overload paralyzes their ability to create a new strategy and, most importantly, to take action to generate new successes.
Don’t fall prey to learning what you will need someday. Focus yourself on what you need right now.
Growth and success is not in the learning. It is in action and implementation.