Learning something new? Here’s how to thrive
Nowadays, there’s lots to learn, so many options, So Much Happening. This reality presents exciting opportunities as well as tricky challenges. If an unfamiliar task has barged onto your calendar, or you’re bursting to try something new, here’s a checklist for starting well.
Pop on your strategy glasses
What do you need to learn? And how do you learn best? If you need to give a presentation and you’re inexperienced, do the work to learn the skill. Your learning might be a combination of reading or listening to the TED Talks book, Toastmasters classes, advice from an experienced speaker, and practicing speaking to small groups at work, socially and in your community. And speaking of community, remember yours. If you need to, ask questions, get help, show appreciation. You’ll find some friends, workmates and people in your network are happy to help and this experience boosts your relationship.
Use your strengths
Are you curious and like to ask questions? Funny? Creative? Full of zest? Think of the ‘real you’ qualities that energise you and try to apply these to your pursuit. Using your key strengths will accelerate your progress and make learning something new more enjoyable.
Set small goals
If you have a new customer management system, you don’t need to master it overnight, take it day by day. Start straight away, master one aspect, then move to the next. If you’re learning a language, simple greetings and a few key travel questions might be your goal for the first couple of weeks.
Celebrate little achievements
Because you should and you’ll feel great! This positive feeling will inspire you to keep learning and the achievements will give you the confidence to stretch yourself a bit further. If you’re learning yoga for example, small achievements might be attending classes twice a week for a month, more flexibility in your hamstrings or managing to quiet you mind at the end of class. ‘Learning goals’ are motivating when you’re a beginner. Congratulate yourself for what you’ve learnt, not just for the results you’ve achieved. For example, if you’ve started a service-based business and you’re trying to attract clients, two learning goals might be to learn how to network and use social media effectively. Once you’ve learnt these skills, the ‘performance’ goal might be to win a client in 3 months. Always remember the best person to compare yourself to is yourself. Focus on the progress you’ve made and be proud of your personal growth.
Dial down the pressure
It’s hard to concentrate and improve if you’re flustered. Create a helpful environment and allocate time to give your challenge your best effort. And depending on what it is you’re learning, is it so serious? If there’s some pressure, perhaps a work requirement, try not to let it consume you. Remind yourself that everyone has challenges and be mindful of other parts of your life that are great. Soon enough, this challenge will be a memory and just another thing you’ve mastered. Also show yourself compassion and practice self-care. Learning isn’t always easy and can bring up frustration, self-doubt and uncertainty. Instead of expecting to grasp this new thing quickly, accept that the process might be a bit clunky and time consuming. And remember mistakes equal learning (and everyone makes mistakes).
To quote Octavia E. Butler, “The big talent is persistence”. So start your beginner’s journey, embrace your learning experience, and relish where you arrive.
Emma Delahey is a Melbourne-based Wellbeing and Confidence Coach for women. She inspires and helps women to develop their passions. Emma is a qualified Life Coach and has a postgraduate qualification in Positive Psychology. Connect with her at [https://www.emmadelahey.com/] and on Instagram and LinkedIn.