I recently wrote an oped for Forbes.com on how Harold Hamm should be an example for the millions of Americans out there out of work or finding themselves dated when it comes to skills. Hamm is a billionaire with a high school education. He couldn’t afford to go to college because he was one of thirteen children and his parents were sharecroppers. His public school education was not you typical fall, winter, spring. It was mostly winter because during the fall and spring he had crops to tend too.
Why is Harold’s story so important? He is a great example of how you can learn on the job and then enhance your knowledge by hitting the books selectively. When Harold first started out in the energy industry he learned from mentors and gained experience by doing. When he could afford some education he was selective and picked courses in geology that would benefit him in the exploration side of his business. Harold has told me time and time again he never stopped learning. He has evolved over the years by adding to his strengths and recognizing his weaknesses by acknowledging the changing world he lives in. The success of Continental Resources is the proof.
In today’s world, the manufacturing jobs of today are very different than the ones of our grandparents. You need to know math. Skills go beyond the manual labor. You need to have the brains too. There are great opportunities out there for anyone to learn anything their heart desires with a click of a mouse. There are so many free lectures or courses on iUniversity. I know it’s hard especially when you are a parent to find the time, but if you really want to add to your marketability or grow your business, sometimes courses or lectures like these can help expand your mind. As a mom of three busy young children and working a job that is not your typical 9-5 gig I get it. I’m a morning person so to fit in everything that makes me happy and whole I get up between 4-4:30am. Yes it’s early but with kids getting up for school starting at 5:30, there is little “me” time to begin with 🙂
You need to visualize this learning and nurturing as invisible beams that fortify your opportunity pyramid. The start at your foundation, working their way up through the six other layers of the pyramid.
It is a cheesy saying but knowledge really is power. You want to make sure you always stay current and relevant to the world around you. If you have your own business you need to stay current so you can serve your clients to the best of your ability. If you are an employee, expanding your knowledge can help you get a promotion or a new job. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur you want to be a sponge in the environment you want to work in so you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
By being nimble you open yourself to new possibilities instead of being stuck in one mode. Building your knowledge goes back to examining the package of skills you present, and then deciding how to expand them. Some options are keeping up on trends by reading, taking a new college course
or two, networking, and finding a mentor. When Harold Hamm looked at his strengths and weaknesses, he realized he needed to learn more
in order to build his energy empire. He was a sponge, learning as much as he could from others. Once he had the financial means, he carefully
chose courses that could help him expand his business. He shows you that you do not need an MBA from Harvard to be successful. Microsoft
founder Bill Gates was a college dropout. Ideas and execution are everything.