Taking the first steps on a new path
You might be looking to establish new habits, to learn new ways of thinking and of looking at the world or different ways of responding to situations. You might be looking to practise strategic thinking, being more thoughtful before you respond to people, seeking better ways to give feedback for example. All this involves learning and I think many of us have forgotten how tough that can be.
I’m not talking about reading a book learning - where we store information in our brain but we don’t take it out and give it a try. I’m talking about the learning we did as children where we learned new things and got it right, got it wrong, got it part right and got it part wrong. We’ve forgotten what it is like to really learn a new thing. We’ve forgotten that learning something new can feel like being lost or on a rollercoaster. We forget that no one learned to ride a bike without grazing their knees a few times.
- Why do we expect trying a new behaviour or approach to be successful first time?
- Why do we expect our lives to magically change from reading a book?
- Do we imagine that we can sit down in front of a piano and after a day of learning turn out Moonlight Sonata?
We so often expect instant results of ourselves and judge ourselves for not yet cracking a new habit. This downward spiral demoralises, weakening our ability to make the changes we seek.
So, if you are building your self-awareness and trying out new habits of behaviours you might notice a critical voice within saying 'I should have made it by now’ or ‘I will never make it'. If you can feel part of you criticising you please stop and remember that change is completely possible:
- Be proud that you are trying something new and that takes courage.
- Smile as you notice that you are taking your first steps.
- Think back to what it takes to get really good at something – isn’t the quote that it takes 100,000 hours to be a master?
- Say to yourself "I’m learning and trying and proud of it".
- Notice that you haven’t lost your way instead you are taking courageous first steps on a new path.
Trying out new things is an important part of widening your horizons and its great to get help on the journey. Remembering that change is possible - but it can be hard, what would you like to learn and how will you help yourself succeed? If you are working with a coach ask them what they will do to help you really practise this new learning, to build real skill and help make it stick for your long term success.
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