Dan Naden

Get to Know ‘Between the Cracks’ Learning

As a child, it seemed I learned continually.

In math class, we figured out what time each train would arrive at a train station travelling at a certain speed.

In science class, we marveled at what happened when you mixed two strange liquids together. Explosions!! Messes!! Yes!!

In gym class, we heard the importance of fitness from the flat-bellied, Mr. Scherrer. Thanks Mr. Scherrer for instilling in me a life-long love for exercise.

Now, decades later, the schoolyard memories remain, yet a different life of ‘learning’ surfaces.

Find 'learning' time takes dedication and intention.
Find ‘learning’ time takes dedication and intention.

This different life’s filled with responsibility and duty to significant other, family, job, friends, and hobbies, but it is not devoid of learning.

It was easy to see your ‘school days’ as constant learning times: 1 hour of science; 1 hour of English; 1 hour of science. By the end of the day, your mind was awash with new theories, ideas, stories, questions.

As I move through my career, I’ve discover ample time for learning and growth. Sure, there are occasional ‘off-site’ classes, conferences, seminars, but most of your learning needs to happen during the day while balancing projects, deadlines, objectives.

I call this ‘between the cracks’ learning.

Why ‘between the cracks’? Because it’s not there right in front of you such as your 5th grade Creative Writing class with the crushingly beautiful Ms. Howlett.

‘Between the cracks ‘learning’ is there, but it’s harder to find. It’s reading an informative blog post, taking in an educational Webinar, or attending a Toastmasters meeting over your lunch hour.

Learning as you mature requires dedication, persistence, intention.

Grade school: learning on the surface

Career: learning between the cracks

When you look at your calendar for the day, you may see nothing but Busy, Busy, Busy. Your project deliverables may be slipping further away from completion.

Take a deep breath and find opportunities amidst this chaos to reflect:

  • What unexpected happened today?
  • What surprised me today?
  • Did any hidden opportunities present themselves today?

It’s not easy, but take 5 minutes at the end of each day and answer these 3 questions and find opportunities where you can S T R E T C H beyond today and towards where you want to be tomorrow.

Now that’s between the cracks learning.

The learning doesn’t stop when the protractor, ruler and stuffed-to-the-gills hallway locker aren’t part of the equation anymore.

Looking for learning gets more challenging as we grow older, yet always strive to find those opportunities for growth ‘between the cracks.’

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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