12 July 2016

Learning New Things Requires Being A Beginner

Always Growing

If you’re a professional who’s essentially “doing well” in your work, you’ve probably become accustomed to feeling on top of your game, at least on some levels. But if you get too attached to this feeling, it can work against you.

Some of my brightest and most accomplished clients sometimes make trouble for themselves by not seeing this. When they find that their work requires them to learn a whole new set of skills, some of them think, “I should know this already. Now I have to do remedial work to catch up to where I should be.” This is a trap!  It’s not a constructive way to approach the new material, whatever it is.  And who says you “should know this already”?

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly having to learn new things — new apps, new protocols, new tools, new coaching techniques and new science that impacts my work.  Our world is changing so fast — there are always new products, concepts, technologies, and best practices to learn.  This is just the way our lives and our careers ARE and will continue to be.  The best we can do is to notice what our work is asking us to learn next, and then to learn it, without a lot of drama.

As you move forward in your professional life, it’s only natural that you will regularly need to learn new skills. In fact, you’d probably be bored if you didn’t.  Don’t beat yourself up about it — just embrace it.  Say to yourself, “What an interesting life I have, that even this I get to learn.”

What are you in the midst of learning right now?

  • How to delegate more effectively?
  • How to be less of a perfectionist?
  • How to streamline your business for greater profitability?
  • How to manage having more on your plate without getting more stressed?
  • Are you learning something technical?

Whatever it is you’re learning, don’t add to your challenge by making yourself wrong for needing to learn it.

In her excellent book, It’s Only Too Late if You Don’t Start, Barbara Sher writes, “You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”  I completely agree with her perspective.  Ongoing growth and learning are inevitable – we might as well embrace it.

There’s nothing wrong with learning new skills, at any stage in your life. In fact, it’s the only way to keep growing. Next time you feel like a beginner, congratulate yourself: you’re expanding.