On the one hand you want to try something new, learn and develop, but on the other hand you can't be bothered. It's too expensive, too hard, will take too long - the list of reasons is endless.
I too have struggled with this attitude for many years, but recently I think I have found the answer!
Part of it is having a bit more of an understanding about what you want to develop in the first place and asking yourself why you think you should carry out that development.
One clue here is the word "should". I have come to realise that whenever I feel that I "should" do something then there is a much greater chance that I won't. Think about it, think about how you feel about something you "should" do. Instantly you will notice your heart is not in it, you feel forced even. It definitely feels like it is in some way imposed.
Ironically the opposite is often true. For example I would love to speak Spanish, I really would, but when it comes to actually doing it my language changes and I start to think I should learn some words tonight or I should go to a class. Did you notice what happened then? I wanted to do it but when it came down to it I started to make a list of all the “shoulds” against how I would do it.
When does that switch take place? What is in the middle? When you see it set out like that it is obvious that between intention and action is where all the excuses are, but what is really holding us back? If I am really honest with myself, what tends to happen when I try to turn a wish into reality is I start to get frightened, and that fear is mainly a fear of failure and a fear of looking a fool.
What I find interesting is that I often feel like that about learning something new or carrying out some personal development but it doesn't always stop me. For example I have been learning to Salsa dance for the last couple of years. I regularly fail, and regularly feel foolish, but I don't seem to care in the same way I think I will about learning Spanish.
The difference for me is two key things, one is that when I actually succeed at Salsa dancing it makes my heart sing, and the other is that the teacher Karl genuinely creates a "safe" learning environment and makes it enjoyable and easy to learn - if only he taught Spanish!
I have also found the same thing professionally. As a member of Cardiff Toastmasters Club I have been learning how to speak professionally for a few months now. The same fears are there; fear of failure and fear of looking foolish, but in this instance the structure of Toastmasters, and the support and challenge of the group make my fears fall away. This means the whole experience is actually quite joyful and exciting instead.
When you next want to challenge yourself ask yourself is the actual challenge a "should" or is it just your excuses that are "shoulds". If it is the actual thing, then I really question if you want to do it, but if it is your excuses, then just find a safe learning environment, and hopefully, like me, your learning with make your heart sing!
Contact us today to discuss how we can help you and your people create and initiate personal and professional development plans.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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