This week I’ve been reflecting on how far I’ve come in the past several years, as I’ve made the transition from worker-bee to creator. I used to be the typical high-tech worker. I knew how to do a lot of stuff, like build a web site, write a communiqué, build a document library, write a technical manual. But I didn’t really UNDERSTAND any of it. I didn’t really get how what I was doing in my little cubicle was affecting the rest of the company. I just worked away at my little job, and took home my paycheque.
Understanding Comes From Experience
Anyone can pick up a book, take a course, or be shown how to do something. But understanding why you must take action “A” to achieve result “B” is key to success. I know how to tie my shoes. I know the techincal process I need to go through to put one lace over the next, loop it around and pull through. But it’s something entirely different to understand why I must tie my shoes. Until I do, I’ll be a sloppy, tripping mess.
So how do you make that transition from just knowing something to really understanding it? Experience. There’s no other way. I must take knowledge I’ve acquired and put it into practice. I must get up and do it every day, as long as I need to until I understand it. Only then can I see the true value in the knowledge I’ve acquired.
The Bottom Line is the Big Picture
I think a lot of people in the social media world are getting caught up in the little details. They are getting stuck in a rut of acquiring knowledge, and not taking the time to really understand what they are learning. Instead of working to acquire understanding, they keep busy rifling around looking for some social media expert to give them all the answers. They are relying on other people to give them top 10 lists, strategies and quick fix solutions instead of spending their time working on understanding. They are reading endlessly, but putting nothing into practice.
Be Accountable for Your Understanding
If there’s one thing I’ve grown to understand over the years, it’s that I am responsible for my own understanding. The experts are not there to solve all my problems. The role of the expert is to pass on knowledge to me. Then it’s up to me to take that knowledge and build an understanding for myself and how that knowledge applies to my situation and my goals. And that can only be done by coming up with my own solutions, applying them and gaining the experience I need to move forward.
There is a world of knowledge out there for the taking. There are dozens of great teachers in the social media space who are willing to send that knowledge out to you. But none of them are going to spoon feed you the answers – it’s impossible for them to do that and it’s too much to ask. You are the only one that can take the knowledge you’ve been given and turn it into your own understanding.