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I’ve been surrounded by A LOT of adult learners lately – through the clients I train and coach and through my own learning ventures (I’ve taken up both golf and painting in the last few months).
One thing I notice with my clients (and with myself) is the erroneous belief that they/I are supposed to be immediately good at something. There is a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) irritation that getting good at a particular skill or function can take some time, practice and just plain old ‘kicking around’ with it.
Mastery of Interactive-Graphics:
In my Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics training I’m teaching other coaches, consultants, facilitators, trainers etc. how to effectively use pre-prepared and spontaneous visuals in an interactive manner with their clients … so their clients learn quicker, communicate better and make more effective decisions in their work and lives (resulting in more happiness & harmony, saved time, enhanced prosperity, etc.).
This cutting-edge, three-day training is jam packed with information, drills and integration practices designed to explain the four main ways of working visually and to allow my participants a chance to try each ‘on for size’ … so they can figure out their preferences and aptitudes. And, to start to carve out a plan about how to integrate this way of working into their own practice.
As good as my training is, there is just no way I can download my 17 years worth of experience into my participants over the short time we spend together. Their learning is dependent on what they do in class AND even more so on what they do AFTER class. And on the mindset that they approach their ongoing development.
It has been two weeks since their training and the immediate workshop high has probably worn off. Now they are left with fond memories, a whack of workshop supplies and handouts … and themselves. It will be up to them to utilize the resources at their disposal (me, their learning colleagues, their own ideas about next steps, etc.). Nobody is going to do the work for them … and the only way out is through — hopefully in as much of a self-soothing way as possible.
Mastery of SHIFT-IT Graphic Coaching:
The same thing is going on for my SHIFT-IT Certification students. For varying reasons they have materialized a chance to learn and use my SHIFT-IT Graphic Coaching Process® (and suite of 17 visual maps) with their own clientele.
We are 7 webinars into a 10-webinar intensive training program — to be followed by a self-directed period of accumulating client practice hours.
Some participants are flying along – they already have practice clients lined up and are busy using the SHIFT-IT tools with them. Others are just figuring out how to access the online resources page where all the materials for the course are! As there is a yearlong deadline to the program, the slow pokes have plenty of time to bridge the gap if they choose to. For some it is just a matter of freeing up time in their busy schedule. However for others, it is more a matter of their mindset and gremlins getting the best of them as they learn a new skill set (more on that later).
Mastery of Paint:
Then there is the matter of yours truly — The SHIFT-IT Coach. You would think with a self-chosen title like that, that I would be excellent at going through learning and acquiring a new skill right? However, I can safely assure you that this is not the case – at least in my new venture of learning how to paint!
I have spent over 17 years focusing on my interactive-graphics and SHIFT-IT work … and all the miscellaneous skills that go along with my unique livelihood. As a result, I’m used to being good at my work – a bit of a master if you will (although there is of course still plenty to learn).
Given my expertise in my profession, it is extremely difficult for me (and my ego) to be a beginner again (just like it is for my students who are all very seasoned professionals in their own rights). During and after my painting sessions, I watch my inner dialogue and I laugh (after I get over the reactiveness and shame of how I am being). I notice how I literally expect to be Picasso immediately and get frustrated when I’m not. Like my students who are hard on themselves and suffer from high expectations and self standards – I have to self soothe myself that it is totally ok to be where I am … that learning requires many, many constant little steps … one after another. And that is totally ok.
Top 10 Soothing Thoughts for Adult Learners:
So, perhaps you are one of the learners that I have mentioned in my courses. Or perhaps, like me, you have recently taken on the challenge of making a shift and/or learning a new skill. In thinking about the Top 10 soothing thoughts that seem to work for me and my students, I’ve come up with the following list.
Soothing Thought #10:
Nobody but freaks and protégés are instantly good at something.
Soothing Thought #9:
Some people are gifted (the above named freaks and protégés) … and that is ok. We can marvel at the mystery of how these things happen.
Soothing Thought #8:
Others being gifted doesn’t take away from the rest of us (it’s an abundant universe and there is plenty to go around). It’s a big world. Plenty of room for many people to be good at things in various ways. Just because somebody else is doing it doesn’t mean we can’t too in our own way.
Soothing Thought #7:
If we apply ourselves consistently over time, we can reach mastery (or at least decent, doable functionality) on anything.
Soothing Thought #6:
Supposedly life expectancy is expected to rise to an average of 120 years … so we are going to have a lot more time to get good at stuff!
Soothing Thought #5:
Our worth and value are not intrinsic to what we do … we are human beings not human doings. Our true value exists in us just being us, we don’t have to do things to be deemed worthy or valuable.
Soothing Thought #4:
Despite what our materialistic world says, not everything has to earn money in order for it to be valuable. Pleasure and feeling good is a value in and of itself. It feels good to feel good.
Soothing Thought #3:
Chances are if we resonate with something and we are interested to learn it, then it does hold some sort of clues for us. We can trust our knowing and follow it to see where it leads.
Soothing Thought #2:
If we truly, honest-to-goodness suck at something and don’t like it, we can drop it and move onto something else — no harm, no foul! That is the ‘adult’ in adult learner. It’s good to be the age we are!
Soothing Thought #1:
The next time you catch yourself swearing at yourself and your lack of performance you can take heart that the SHIFT-IT Coach swears like a trucker at herself too! (then self soothes after that!).
Create Your Own Soothing Thoughts:
Ok, a little self indulgence on the last one – but I do try to make you laugh! Just an FYI on the list … different people find different thoughts soothing. I invite you to scan the list and notice which ones make you feel good and which ones don’t. And what kind of soothing thoughts could be added to the list to make it work specifically for you and your circumstances.