You know enough. Don’t you?

I’m all for personal development.

I have spent my life upskilling. From short courses to webinars, conferences to correspondence courses. There is a popular saying that ‘every day is a school day,’ and I subscribe to that.

The internet has opened up an endless supply of advice and guidance to help all of us be better, in our personal and business life. The problem I have, is knowing when enough is enough.

I don’t mean because I have reached brain capacity, or that I know everything, but there must come a point when you know sufficient.

Do you ever know enough?

My first degree is in Film and Media Studies. I chose that because I was interested in news and writing and originally thought I would become a journalist. The course was wide-ranging and academic. We learned about all sorts of interesting things such as semiotics and theories of communication. In the film part we studied cinematography as well as the intricacies of specific film genres like the western. Then it was time to get a job.

I remember the interview for the first job I got. It was to be a Publicity Officer for a large engineering firm, APV. The interviewer asked, “so you like PR, do you?” Given the closed nature of the question I was naturally led to say ‘yes.’ However, the truth was, at that moment, I had no idea what PR was!

Well I got the job, and on day one, I was asked to write a press release. I was too shy to admit that I didn’t know what one of those was either, so I wrote what I thought was required. As it turned out, I was bang on, so nobody ever found me out.

Understanding the world of public relations (PR)

The first thing I did was join the then IPR – Institute of Public Relations and start taking some training courses. Around the same time I also did a correspondence course on advertising copywriting. I didn’t know it at the time but that would become my second job.

Fifteen years later, having spent my career working in various aspects of communication and public relations, I became a full member of the by this time CIPR – Chartered Institute of Public Relations. My years of knowledge and experience were recognised as being sufficient to gain this prestigious accolade.

I ought to mention that in between, I had studied part-time in the evenings at my local university and gained a Masters degree in Marketing.

A further umpteen years in corporate communication, heading up departments for big brands such as Interflora and the Environment Agency and my knowledge of PR and marketing was pretty robust.

Then along came the internet

I am now in my fifties, so naturally things have changed during my time in communications. I have witnessed the move from dot matrix pcs to Windows, the introduction of digital printing, photography and media. I have embraced the world of social media and the information superhighway!

All this new technology meant learning new things – gaining both knowledge and new skills. And so this is where I am today, continually scrolling through social media, buying templates, signing-up for courses on keyword research, watching YouTube videos on how to make reels and so on.

What is my problem?

I believe there comes a point when we don’t need more input. What we need is to remember what we have learned and apply that learning.

Sometimes buying that course, or signing up for that webinar is a form of procrastination. Do you really need it? Did you not learn that new shiny subject last month? Have you not been putting that theory into practice for the last 30 years?

Remember that saying, ‘you don’t know, what you don’t know?’  The opposite is true as well. We do know, what we know. I know what I learned nearly forty years ago on my first degree course. I certainly know what I learned on my MSc. I know all the things I put into practice during the thirty years in corporate communications and I know what I have been teaching my clients over the last few years whilst I have been self-employed.

Honestly, how many times have you taken a course or attended a conference and said to yourself, I knew that already?

Self-belief is what we need. Stop and think what you already know and identify if there are gaps that need filling. If you have a glaring hole in your knowledge that is impeding your progress, by all means seek help. But please, don’t just buy that next course or webinar as a crutch. Dig deep and ask yourself if you really need it.

You might just conclude that you know enough.

 

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