Be open to learn in 2013, a work approach inspired by my 5-year-old

A conversation last night with my 5-year-old at bedtime was a revelation. This one happened on New Year’s Eve and should likely set the tone for how I approach my year professionally.

Me: I hope you’ve had a great vacation. One more day until you go back to school.
5yo: And one more day until you go back to work?
Me: Yes, back to work.
5yo: My school is like work. Is your work like school?

Wow. Going to school for him is like work. And probably more so, work is and should always be like school. You should always be observing, learning and processing new information. Every industry I worked with last year, as a strategy consultant, is changing – healthcare, media, financial services and ever more, technology. Now having to immerse myself in various industries against the ever changing technology canvas is an exciting learning opportunity. I also benefit from being surrounded by an incredible team — there’s plenty to learn from.

When you’ve been doing something long enough, there is as much to teach as there is to learn. I got to present (teach) “API Strategies for achieving platform business goals” in San Francisco, New York and London as part of an API University section of our Business of APIs conference I helped architect. It was my first time speaking in over a year, and I took a slightly different approach based on the content. The material was richer in educational content as opposed to the spectacle of demos I used to present. I took note of what people were writing down and tweeting during each presentation. I engaged the audience directly after my presentation, and was impressed with how much attendees had learned.

It’s going to be an enriching 2013. With many more opportunities to teach and learn, another work year ahead now seems more like school. It appears, through the eyes of my 5 year old, that approaching your job being open to learn and grow can only make you better!