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5 Steps to Learn ANYTHING Online

5 Steps to Learn ANYTHING OnlineThere is an immeasurable amount of information literally at our fingertips.

We can learn anything online.

I’ll say that again, because it’s hard to grasp the enormity of that concept.

Seriously, right now, you can learn ANYTHING.

Think of anything you wish you could do, and you can find a little to a lot of information about it online. Now more than ever before, we have an incredible opportunity to learn and grow in expansive ways.

So why don’t we?

Why We Don’t Take Action on Our Ideas or Desires

“I’m too busy.” “Yeah, but my situation is different.” “I don’t know where to start.”

The real reason behind all of those excuses is that it’s scary. And overwhelming. It’s much easier to cover up with an excuse than to figure it out on your own.

We grow up in schools where our classes and lessons are almost entirely pre-determined for us. No wonder we feel lost while trying to navigate this new online educational territory by ourselves.

It’s actually a new way of learning.

What if there is another option?

Why can’t you feel just as comfortable navigating the online hallways as you do the ones you knew so well in high school?

Instead of feeling lost or on your own, what if you had a guide?

Imagine how empowered you would feel with a 5-step process for finding, integrating and applying new information.

I believe that learning is a skill and a mindset that anyone can have. Yes, including you!

Why Do I Make Such a Bold Promise?

For over 10 years, I have been teaching myself how to do things. Everything and anything, from coordinating an entire 200+ US show tour for a rock band to developing my graphic and web design full-time freelance business to building a massive wooden art supply table for a client who still receives compliments.

How can I be successful doing such diverse endeavors while having no prior experience?

1) Skills are transferable.

If you know how to boil water, then you know how to cook dozens of dishes.

Plus, the more comfortable you are with self-learning, the more your learning curve grows exponentially with each new skill.

2) Even though the projects are different, my process is the same.

And, now I teach my same process to others.

Say Hello to the 5 Steps to Learn Anything

We will start with a simple example of how to use these steps to get comfortable with learning something new online: facilitating a webinar for the first time.

But, this is just the beginning. You can re-use this process to go deeper each time with the same skill or a new one. As you’ll see, you can even use this process beyond the online world.

Step #1: Explore

Let’s say you have been on a few webinars, but have no clue how to do one yourself.

Firstly, what is your mindset? What are you already telling yourself? It’s human nature to look for reasons that prove your viewpoint. Instead, try to keep a fresh, open mind and continually ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

Then, let Google be your best friend! Saturate yourself with inspiration and information. Ask and explore. Let go of your preconceptions and just soak it all in. There is no right or wrong yet. You are gathering information.

Let’s say you ask Google “how to best webinar.” You look through some links and are starting to understand a few of the components, but most of it is still vague with words you don’t understand. That’s ok. You keep browsing, looking up the confusing words, and trying new searches.

Then, you find a link with a clear how-to article, and lots of explanation for beginners. Score! Are there comments? What do people say? You find a great question, “How do you get people to come to your webinar?” There aren’t any quality responses, so you go back to Google.

Pretend you are a detective. Follow the breadcrumbs. Be curious on purpose.

It’s important to explore emotionally too. What do you desire? Why do you want to do this? What do you want to feel during? After?

Imagine the feelings you want to have while you are on your webinar. Do you want to feel confident? At ease? Flowing?

Visualize yourself teaching a topic you are passionate about to a group of interactive listeners. Feel the buzzing excitement of bringing people together and sharing YOUR value. Explore within yourself the experience you desire to have.

For more on desires, I highly recommend Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map.

Step #2: Research

Next, you will bring deductive reasoning back in. Begin to weigh your findings and compare the best resources. Did your exploring bring up further questions? Do you feel like there are still some missing pieces? Maybe you are just having trouble putting it all together.

Let’s say you found two great articles on webinars, but there are some big differences. You’re feeling stuck not knowing which one to follow.

Now is the time to reach out to your circle – friends, family, and beyond. Who do you know that is an expert? Or at least, who knows more than you do?

If you don’t know anyone, find people you can reach out to. Maybe something in the article was confusing. Why not contact the author of the article?

Don’t be afraid to not know. Ask questions – lots of questions – and listen. Most people want to help. And, talking with someone can clarify things in so many ways. Even if you think you know what to do, someone who has been through it will have meaningful insights.

Step #3: Trust

You probably want to learn something so that you could actually DO something with this knowledge.

This is where most of us get stuck. We begin to doubt ourselves and the excuses take over. “What if I do it wrong?” “What if I no one shows up?” “What if I fail?” “What if I succeed?” This is where it’s easy to feel paralysed or frozen.

Instead, stand up and take a deep breath. Feel your feet on the ground. Solid. Take a big inhale and as you exhale, shake your body all over and make the craziest sound that comes out. Repeat if needed.

It feels silly, but this literally shifts your physical state, which allows you to shift your mental state.

When you are feeling ready to take on the web again, look at what you already know. At the very least, you understand the concept of webinars. You need a topic, a way to host the call, and at least one attendee. Not so bad, right?

But, you know more than that. By now, you’ve explored and researched. Try writing all of it down in one place. It can help you to get perspective. Trust that you know more than you think you know.

Step #4: Play

Another hang up people face in implementing their new knowledge is the pressure of a definitive situation – such as a live webinar. So, let’s take a step in between.

Take the pressure off and pretend you are a kid. No one is watching, so you can interact with what you’ve learned. Play. If you are too serious, you will tense up and lose the reason why you started to learn this in the first place. Make everything an experiment.

Step into your imaginary science lab. Spread out your notes and begin to try things out. Open the webinar technology and test the different settings. Have a friend call in. Turn on some music and have a web jam party. Pull out your colored markers and create a topic outline for yourself.

Practice what you are going to say. Practice while sitting, standing, and wiggling around. What does it feel like? Immerse yourself in the environment, the tools, the ingredients, and the combinations.

Why? You want to know these things intimately. How can you utilize them if they are foreign objects? Before the pressure of launching, give yourself the freedom to let go and experiment.

Step #5: Launch

Go ahead. It’s time. You are ready. Set the date for your webinar. Email your mailing list. Apply all that you’ve learned and if questions come up, you now know how to find solutions (see steps 1 and 2). Done is better than perfect. In fact, there is no perfect. Just choices. Start small, easy, simple.

Use iterations.

Every time you launch, you will learn something new. Growth is a never-ending process, so jump in!

After your webinar, get feedback. Check in with yourself and others. What worked? What didn’t? What would happen if you altered something a little? A lot? Added this? Removed that? Let it marinate. Transform. Clarify. Reflect on the experience.

Did you experience the desires you listed in step 1? How could you incorporate them more? What will you want to do next time?

Applause!

Celebrate what you’ve accomplished! Celebrate the journey. Even if it’s not as successful as you’d hoped, you have had valuable experiences that you can build upon or apply to anything else.

This is huge.

You have done something courageous that a lot of other people are too afraid to attempt. Appreciate yourself and soak it in!

In Your Own Words

Which of these steps have you used to learn something new? Share YOUR experiences, small wins, big wins, and insights in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

About Christina Salerno

Christina Salerno is the creator + curator of Living Quirky, a website for discovering and celebrating the deliciousness of being quirky. When she's not on her quest for truth, you can find her solving puzzles and exploring the infinite playground of New York City. Join the quest, start here with the Superhero Quiz.

29 thoughts on “5 Steps to Learn ANYTHING Online

  1. This is lovely! And you’re so clever to have boiled it down to five steps 🙂

    I’m going to give your methods a try and maybe I can pick up new things a tad faster – skipping the distractedness and doubts and all and just getting the good stuff!

    • Thanks, Paula! Haha, yes, more good stuff! I wish I could say that there won’t still be distractions vying for our attention and doubts that can fill our thoughts, but the goal is to add some tools to work through them when they do come up. I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

  2. Wonderful article, Christina, and just what I needed. I’m in the process of figuring out what I need to do next in my writing career. It’s really scary, but this article reminded me that it’s okay to make mistakes when you’re learning something for the first time, which I think is what I needed to hear today. Thanks.

    -Tim

    • Thanks, Tim! Glad this could be so timely for you. Yes, it is scary, but you’re exactly right! I would even say mistakes are more than okay – they are valuable feedback. If you have a success your first go of things, how are you going to know what you did right? “Mistakes” are really gifts of insight for being able to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Good luck, would love to hear how it goes for you!

  3. You are so right, Christina.
    Edison, himself, said of his wrong assumptions: “We’ve just discovered another way NOT to do it.”
    I always admired that in him, and it’s time I admired it in myself, too.
    Thanks for this!

  4. I’m always curious so exploration is my thing. I’ll try things at least once. However, if I had projects, I would do them more, especially if I like them.

    • I believe curiosity is under appreciated, but it’s a great quality to have! Do you wish you had more projects? Maybe you could apply these steps to learning how to get more projects you enjoy?

  5. Excellent compilation of important and doable steps. You gave me the courage to learn all about creating videos – I have be procrastinating. Thanks so much, Christina, for your help and mindset!

    • So happy to hear, Chris! You are welcome. I love helping people and it’s the best comment ever to hear I’ve inspired change in some way. Let me know how learning to create your videos goes!

  6. Chris Ducker recently had Todd Henry on his pocast. He usses the term being fiercely curious in learning new things. Just narrow learning down to what really benefits you. People can be victim to information overwhelm.

    • Great point, Matt! On the flip side of not knowing where to begin is not knowing when to stop and take action. I recently saw a quote floating around about if you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, then you’ve launched too late. Which is also taking the idea of “launching before you’re ready” to the next level.

  7. I’ve always used steps 1 & 2, but never really thought I could incorporate other steps like the ones mentioned to a totally different direction

  8. Chris, I really like this article. I’m a person who like the learning process, I’m open to learning something new every time, but of course, I still keep it within the boundaries of what I enjoy doing. But with your 5 ways, the only thing that’s really challenging for me is #3 Trust. Somewhere along the way of learning something new, I doubt…if it is even worth the time? Or if the process will benefit me at all? Maybe I should start trusting more in myself now too.

    • Thanks, Azalea! Yea, trust is so important. Though, it’s hard to just flip a switch to start trusting yourself more. It starts by paying more attention to the things you appreciate about yourself. Maybe make a list of everything you’ve done in your life that you are proud of or appreciate the part you had in the making of. Another exercise that was helpful for me was to start a weekly appreciation session where I took 30 minutes to write down the things I did that week that provided value to myself or someone else. Now I do it every night before going to bed. Eventually, you will begin to trust more in your decisions and intuitions when you have a little something to lean on from past experiences. Think of it as a building. You don’t build a skyscraper overnight! Hope this is helpful 🙂

  9. I think the crucial is #6: Use iterations
    It’s not so uncommon to actualy learn a new thing and implement it. But then we get disappointed with the results and quit.

    I decided to write at the end of 2012. I wrote a short fiction story, put it on the SF&F magazine forum and got feedback, which was not encouraging. I realized that the fiction+traditional publishing route is loooooong. So I switched to non-fiction and self-publishing.
    I have 5 books published and one of them became an Amazon bestseller.

    • Congratulations, Michal! You’re absolutely right. This is just a starting point. But, a lot of people get stuck in the getting started so that was my intention with this post. Sounds like you’ve got a great process for yourself! What’s the name of your book(s)?

      • The bestseller is “Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day”.
        My first book was about personal mission statement creation and the rest are the parts of “Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day” – about weight loss, speed reading and parenting.
        If you look for ‘Michal Stawicki’ on Amazon, you’ll find them easily.

  10. Hi Christina, this is a wonderful article. It gets straight to the point and gives easy to follow advice. I have always been one for learning whatever I can about the the way the world works and it is so easy to get immersed in information. For me that is a pleasure and I frequently push myself to study things that I know are way “above my pay grade” just for the challenge. However you make a very important point that learning the theory only gets you so far, if you don’t find a way to incorporate it within your life in some way it becomes entertainment rather than learning (not that learning shouldnt be entertaining!) but it is a bit like the family tea service in the display cabinet that never gets used for fear of breakage!

  11. It appears that I have numbers 1 through 4 down—now I just have to get number 5 out of the way. I think I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve learned enough to get started (to the point of information over-load at times), and according to your steps—it’s time to launch! Thanks for the gentle reminder that it’s time to get a move on. 🙂

    This is going up on my bulletin board so I can read it every day…

    “Done is better than perfect.”

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