Wednesday, October 28, 2009

training vs. learning

I read an interesting idea the other day that got me thinking: training is something that’s pushed on you; learning is something you choose.

Now, being a computer trainer, I hate to think that I'm pushing anything on anyone, but I have to agree. I can't teach you anything you don't want to learn. (And that's a truth that gets played out on a day-by-day basis in my experience.)

Think about the things you know how to do really well. Singing, gardening, writing code, selling widgets, brewing beer... these are all things you have, at some level, chosen to learn how to do; otherwise you wouldn't be good at them.

So what about the things you don't know how to do really well? Things like, say, being gentle with yourself, or stopping obsessive thinking. Things like having healthy relationships or overcoming writers' block. How do you learn how to do them?

The first step is CHOOSING to learn them. Letting go of your victim mentality and all your excuses and turning your heart's pursuit into learning this new thing. By hook or by crook. (And yes, you may fall flat on your face, but it's your face, and you're in charge of it.)

If you look outside yourself for someone to teach you how to make it happen, you may learn the dance steps, the chemical formula, or the philosophical approach, but until you try it out and really live in a place of learning, you'll be forcing it on yourself, and letting it go just as quickly.

So here's an exercise to try:

Commit in your heart to learning your new thing. (I'll use Putting Down Food as the new thing in this example.) Sit quietly for a few minutes and breathe in and out, agreeing with yourself that from now on, you're going to learn all about your relationship to Putting Down Food. You may fail or you may succeed, but this time, that's not the most important part. The most important part is that you learn something.

When you feel ready on the inside, stand up, and find a line on the floor. Could be a crack in the sidewalk, or the doorway to the kitchen. Doesn't matter. Line your toes up on one side of that line, and remember what it's like to be where you are right now. Status quo. Stuck feeling like you can't learn anything new. Filled with thoughts of "I can't Put Down Food."

Then, when you're ready, step over the line into a place of opportunity. On the other side of the line is where new learning will happen. Maybe you'll Put Down Food and maybe you won't. It doesn't matter, because this time you're committing to learning about it.

By focusing on the learning, you may just free up the energy that's been stuck focusing on results. And who knows? They may just tag along for the ride!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An interesting test for finding your strengths

I was part of a roundtable today that focused on exploring the value of the strengths you bring to the table in your own, individual way. The test below is another way to identify your own strengths, and once you're more aware of them, you can play to your them more fully, and derive more joy from the use of them.

Turns out that I'm a weaver, with a secondary level of teacher. This makes good sense to me, as I'm constantly trying to connect people, and sure, I have a lot of fun when I can solve a problem, but even when I can't solve it, if I can point out someone else who can, I'm still happy.

It's free, so why not take the test?