Reflecting recently on my work life revealed a common factor that helped me grow and become successful over the past, almost five decades: Learning.

Over the years I’ve had several careers, including electronic engineering, and technical service and education in the medical equipment industry. I’ve been an editor and publisher of several magazines. I have sold HVAC and managed installation crews. And for the last three decades I’ve immersed myself in HVAC education.

Looking back, what I find most fascinating is how much the experience and learning from each of these roles helped me in the successive one.

Today, I am honored to lead National Comfort Institute (NCI). It is a great organization with a mission to teach and edify all those we touch in our industry. We get to impact so many lives in a positive way.

And while NCI has grown significantly over the years, we constantly remind ourselves of three important tenets:

  1. We must always remain in learning mode. None of us knows as much as all of us. If anyone on our team thinks they don’t need to learn anything else, we are in big trouble.
  2. When we are teaching others we must always be open to new ideas. The best ideas tend to come from challenging “common knowledge.” Rules of thumb, and lack of fact-based, measurable information in our industry have been a major impetus for the original creation and continuous improvement of NCI’s training.
  3. We must remain humble – always. While our instructors must be confident in their knowledge and ability to convey information in an interesting and engaging way, they must always be careful to not slip into arrogance.

Humility is the most important trait that helps maintain balance and keep crossing the line between confidence and arrogance.

We are truly blessed with one of the most amazing training teams. Their caring, drive, and excitement to help people learn new concepts and become immersed in the high-performance approach is off the charts.

Having said that, our team is ever-vigilant of slipping into complacency, or worse, arrogance. We have the privilege to be in front of a group of students in an NCI class, so we strive to keep each other in check. This is not just in formal training, but in any interactions, publications, presentations, podcasts, etc.

Of course, none of us are perfect, but our team works hard to maintain humility and an attitude of service. We constantly remind ourselves that we have a significant responsibility to those we serve.

While you may not be in the business of education (although, in some ways we all are), think about how learning impacts your team.

Do you provide opportunities for constant learning, both formal and informal? Have you become complacent, perhaps believing that your team and organization is good enough? Do you see your organizations as average or typical?

If you see your company as average, are you happy with “good enough?” If not, maybe it’s time to look for ways to make continuous learning and improvement a bigger part of your culture.

On a more personal note, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to personally make constant learning part of your daily routine. Look for learning opportunities in your human interactions, and in your daily tasks and projects.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make, not just in terms of reaching your business goals, but in how it makes you feel about yourself and your personal growth.