Jackie McKool

Growth, Do You Budget for It?

I am a natural learner – not a quick learner, necessarily (!), but I naturally love to learn. When I was just a child, I remember wanting to be a teacher when I grew up. When that proverbial question comes up in places like leadership seminars, “what did you want to be when you grew up?” my first remembrance is always “teacher.” I’m not sure that I had too many other desires growing up. Perhaps a physical education teacher, but that was still a teacher. At one point in my early twenties I was drawn to psychology and sociology (probably stemming from my own dysfunctional experiences more than anything!). When I eventually took my first college classes, I entered into the Business Marketing program at the community college. I was the assistant to the marketing director at the trade association where I was working at the time.

Looking back over my life as a learner, I also took courses to become a licensed real estate agent in the late 80’s early 90’s (yes, when interest rates were at 18%!). I think at that time I was a better student than I was a real estate agent – but that’s a story for another day! Then God got a hold of my life and I was looking to make career change once again. This time I had to take some pre-requisition classes for chiropractic school, creating the need to change my major from business to science classes. And then on to chiropractic school I went. Once I was a licensed chiropractor, I had, and still have continuing education hours that I needed to fulfill in order to remain licensed. Several years into practice I pursued my post-doctorate degree as a chiropractic internist. This was a 2-year, one weekend a month, 300-hour course, including board exams. Did I mention I love to learn?! Then life circumstances took me into a brand-new career as a fund-raiser. And you got it, off to school I went once again to learn this new field.

While I didn’t pursue a career in teaching formally, my natural characteristic is to teach others. I teach through writing and speaking. My dad was a teacher of sorts – he taught people how to fly as private pilots. My brother Mike teaches the Bible each week to a congregation of inner-city folks. I guess you could say teaching is in my blood.

One morning recently while I was jogging and having a conversation with Jesus, I was expressing my dreams and desires to pursue some further training that would support my calling of speaker and writer. There are several conferences I know for certain that I want to go to next year 1) The Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference and 2) the Speakup Conference, a Christian Speakers conference. And I also enjoyed learning from speakers at this past year’s Toastmaster’s Spring Conference and would like to go again next year. These were not just dreams but goals that I wanted to achieve. There was only one problem. The only savings I have right now are for my continuing education courses for my chiropractic license. And I also would like to be prepared to increasing my learning in other areas of the wholistic health world too. But the budget wasn’t there.

And that is what led me to ask YOU, are you including in your budget, dollars for personal growth, in whatever arena that might be? It could be for formal education; post-college learning; ongoing training that supports your career – especially if your employer doesn’t pay for it. Or maybe it’s just for your own personal growth in areas that you enjoy, or want to learn more about. Not all of the things on my bucket entail traveling or exploring. Some of the things on my bucket list include learning – learning to take better photography pictures, learning how to play the harmonica (it just seems like such a fun instrument!), advance my oil painting skills. Of course, if the opportunity were to arise to go to say a Christian Women’s Conference to learn more about Jesus, I don’t want to have to say “I can’t, I don’t have the money.”

Let me encourage you, that YOU are valuable, and you are worth sowing your own hard dollars into. This isn’t frivolous spending, this could be investing into the purpose of what God is calling you to – like me with writing and speaking. Perhaps it’s seemingly recreational learning, but who knows what people or opportunities God wants to place in your path by doing so. Or He may simply want you to relax and enjoy the life He has blessed you with. A lesson for me, and hopefully for you now, is that learning and growing needs to be a line item on our annual budget!

If you are not already signed up for my monthly newsletter, (https://jackiemckool.com/#newsletter) be sure to check out the October issue – it talks all about budgeting – for both, our time and our money! Here’s to happy learning!

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. (Proverbs 9:9 – English Standard Version)

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