There are moments that define your career. The first was the decision I made to fill in the gaps at work and learn something that was so out of my comfort zone it propelled me onto the fast and profitable track (read more about it here.)  There have been several more defining moments since. One that continues to stand out was at a time when I felt like all my chips were down. My CFO, Controller and most relied upon co-workers had left our company shortly after acquisition. I had settled in nicely working with the CEO. I had even become comfortable with it.  Shortly thereafter, he left as well.

It was yet another blow in what would become a 3 year long chain of sucker punches. Little did I know these punches would make me the competitor I am now, none-the-less, the wind was continuously knocked out of my sails.

He handed me a book entitled, Great by Choice, by Morten T. Hansen.  On the inside cover he wrote “ABR. – M”

I cocked my head to the left with a quizzical look as he grinned and asked if I knew what that meant.  Of course I didn’t and he knew it. “Always be reading.” He said.

It was that mindset that helped me all those years ago.  And it was this mindset that will continue to raise my and open up new opportunities.  Who’s to say, but I believe it was that mindset then that doubled my income in the first 2 years and allowed me the growth to pursue Finance. If it hadn’t, I might still be struggling to determine my path and perhaps plateaued early in my career.

Always be reading.

Continuous reading does quite a bit of things for us.

1. There is always something to learn

Show me a man who thinks he has learned all there is to learn, and I will show you a man you has stopped living. When we stop learning it is because we have stopped being curious. When we have stopped being curious we are headed for a lack of enthusiasm and satisfaction. The mundane and drama starts to create cobwebs in our minds.  When we stop learning, we plateau. We can then only do what we have to that point learned how to do.  If you want a life full of adventure, new possibilities and a plethora of paths to choose from, always be learning.

2. Allows us to see different perspectives and understand varying voices

When we thumb or scroll through a book, article, blog, we are not only learning the subject matter at hand. We are opening ourselves up to different perspectives, different voices and tones from the multitude of authors and information we consume. In return allowing us understanding, openness, creativity and a horde of tools upon which to rely.

3. Earning potential and opportunities follow

They say follow the money.  But I say follow the curiosity and money will follow you.  When you are learning new things, preferably both outside of your comfort zone in addition to your field of expertise and you will continue to your earning power. After all, knowledge is power. When I learned excel, I became the right hand guy. When I learned the business, I stayed the right hand guy with raises and promotions. When I started on FP&A, I increased my income by double once again. When I started learning SQL I was able to get my information more quickly and be yet another asset to the company. Being an asset means having a paycheck.

Always be curious.  Always be learning.  Always be reading.