Blog Post

What Motivates Successful People to Keep Learning? Six Professionals Weigh In

Jeff Miller

Chief Learning Officer and Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, Cornerstone OnDemand

This piece is part of our celebration of #OnlineLearningWeeek, happening from September 10-14. Have a skill you want to sharpen? Start learning through Cornerstone's free online learning portal here.

The way employees learn and develop throughout their careers has changed a lot in the past decade. With an accelerating pace of change driven by advancements in technology and a widening skills gap, it is no longer enough to train employees on an annual basis.

Today, in order for employees (and organizations) to realize their full potential, they need the ability to continuously learn and develop their skills on an ongoing basis. But finding the motivation and time for learning while juggling other work responsibilities can be challenging.

Here, six HR experts, Cornerstone all-stars and extreme learning professionals share what motivates them to find time to continue learning day in and day out.

"When I think about what keeps me excited and engaged at work, it's the moments where I'm forced to learn something new. It's critical for us to challenge ourselves and get out of our comfort zones if we want to continue to move up in our careers and discover our passions.

It's easy to get bogged down with daily to-do lists. But when you escape from the tactics, and think bigger picture about how you want to make an impact—whether it's a new project you want to lead, or a new job you want to apply for—the only way to get there is to continue to learn and be open to change. Embrace it—change is the only constant!"

—Lindsay Thomson, Product Marketing Manager at Cornerstone OnDemand

"I didn't realize this until I was well down my career path, but I developed a growth mindset and the belief that I can be smarter if I try [harder]. Many of the skills I use every day I didn't learn in school or through any formal training.

What motivated me down this path? The seed was planted by my mother who always believed that the one thing no one can take away from you is your education. But that seed grew and became what drives me today—a deep sense of curiosity and wanting to be the best I can be. Without continuous learning, my value to clients diminishes every day."

—Ira Wolfe, President of Success Performance Solutions

"I've always equated learning with being able to do something new. Rather than getting stuck in a routine, constant learning allows me to do something new and different every day!"

—Akanksha Garg, General Manager at CyberU

"Having moved to a new country as an adult, I've learned that culture and language play a much bigger role in people's lives than I ever thought. As a result, I've been motivated to learn more about culture and how it impacts people's decision making. My goal? To understand people. Understanding others is a huge motivator in my life."

—Suzanne Lucas, Founder of Evil HR Lady

"Back when I first became a product manager, product management was not yet taught in school and the world was still figuring out the role. Now, as a director, I interview the next generation of product managers for our team and consistently observe that they are well-educated and practiced in business, design and data science.

These new super-kids are going to make me obsolete if I don't keep up with learning new skills and honing my craft. So that's exactly what I intend to do!"

—Elvis Ha, Director of Product Management at Cornerstone OnDemand

"I struggle with looking at the end result of someone else's thinking and understanding it. That has driven me go back to the basics and research the information that went into the conclusion that was drawn. I find this gives me a deeper understanding of not just the decision, but also of the various elements that were considered. I learn a lot."

—Carol Anderson, Principal of Anderson Performance Partners

Want to feed your curiosity, boost your skills and get inspired to continue your learning journey? Cornerstone is celebrating #OnlineLearningWeek (September 10-14) by offering everyone a week of free online learning courses available here!

Header photo: Creative Commons

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