From all sides, we’re urged to set reading goals for 2018 and read more books.
Each time I hear this message, I think, “No!”
I read many books yearly. I have my chaotic, non-linear process down to a science: Friends or colleagues tell me about a book or it is mentioned in a newspaper article or blog post. I request the book at the library, read it, add it to my goodreads collection and pull the next one off my nightstand.
I’m a lifelong learner. I need reading in the same way that I need food, water or sleep. Mostly I read in the evenings. When I need to read a book for work, I read it or refer to it during my work hours.
This past year, I came to an important realization.
I already know enough. Often, I know too much.
I have a different challenge.
I need to spend more time creating content that connects my knowledge with the questions and interests of my communities of nonprofit leaders, consultants and writers.
Sometimes, that means stepping back ten steps to meet learners where they are. The first time I taught grant proposal writing, one of the students raised her hand and asked, “What’s a grant?” A light bulb went off. I couldn’t assume that learners came with any knowledge in this area. The next time I taught the material, I added a clear, basic definitions so that everyone understood the terms we were discussing.
Teaching has given me the opportunity to package what I know in a way that helps others.
Writing consistently is another way for me to synthesize learning and share its implications. When I write, I filter new knowledge through my experiences and questions and think about its application to potential readers or learners.
So I’m NOT resolving to read more books in 2018. I’ve got that one down.
I am resolving to “spit out” more of my knowledge—by creating webinars, workshops and blogs— to share what I know and help all of us do better work.