In learning any new skill, there is a real journey involved. A series of wins, fails, aha moments and pure humility. Even our most talented leaders across any field will share this. No matter the skill level, achievement and growth will take time, patience and consistent dedication. Whether you’re learning a new sport, physical training, or a new software, much of the journey requires a strong mindset. Even in the most rigorous physical training, the mind can be your best supporter or your downfall.
Learning a new skill can be exciting and eager to some, at the same time, daunting and crippling to others. It’s a matter of mindset and self management.
We’ve put together a few practical hacks to help you keep your mind strong and focused through learning any new skill.
BE REAL WITH WHERE YOU’RE AT
The first step in taking on any new skill is to level your mindset to accept that this is new – you’re not going to know everything from the start. You’re likely not going to be naturally gifted at it, you might actually be pretty bad – and that’s perfectly ok. To learn a new skill, you need to remember this and accept it, at least at the beginning, and stay open minded and open spirited to allow yourself to ease into it.
ELIMINATE COMPARISONS / ENCOURAGE COMPETITION
Constantly comparing yourself with other people will never help you grow. There’s a fine line between competing and comparing so be careful and aware of your actions in this area.
Comparison can be unproductive and self-defeating especially when you’re trying to grow at a new skill. Learning something new can be intimidating, especially in a class or any group setting where we tend to look to others as we learn. In this moment of comparison, you might find yourself feeling like you should be farther along in the process. Like you’re falling behind and should be able to keep up.
The truth is, you are your own person and can only work from where you are right now, at your own speed and at your own conditions. You cannot rush or force yourself to learn quicker, this never works. You need to allow yourself the space to find your own pace at which you can grow. PATIENCE is key.
There will always be somebody better, faster, stronger and more experienced than you are. This is inevitable, so forget it – don’t even think about it. Comparison should be dismissed and replaced with constructive, friendly competition if anything.
Competition, on the other hand, can be healthy in that it keeps us striving for better. It gives us goals and milestones to accomplish to keep us inspired and engaged to keep growing. It can also be a fun bonding experience to share with a friend or fellow teammate.
THE HEALTHIEST FORM OF COMPETITION IS COMPETING WITH YOURSELF – YOU VS. YOU.
Some of the most accomplished athletes, musicians, artists, leaders of all types note that they stay in competition with themselves. This means, you strive to be at your best and to outdo your former self, to be better than who you were yesterday, last week, last year, etc. Focusing on your own growth and achievements in this way is a great tool for measuring personal progress and keeping you on a continual path forward. It can help you navigate your personal journey with a clear perspective as to how far you’ve come along, what your next goals are, as well as allow yourself to celebrate any wins or milestones you have achieved thus far – this is important in keeping your morale up and to keep yourself engaged.
FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS
Rather than focusing on all the ways you may be lacking – skill wise, ability wise – focus on what strengths you do have. Focus on what you’ve already accomplished. And if you are brand new, focus on the fact that you showed up and are there to learn something new. Many times this is the hardest part, going from the idea phase of something you’d like to try into actually taking the leap and showing up. You made it!
Self-acceptance is part of the practice in that you need to mentally be at peace with yourself throughout your journey in order to stay focused – ego aside. This is a strength that comes with focusing on your goals, controlling your mind rather than allowing your pride or emotions to control you. Challenges will come and go but your focus is your grounding point. It’s your inner strength that enables you to power through challenging moments rather than folding under pressure. Your focus and self-acceptance are both important in helping you to monitor your general level of skill so you can best assess what you need to work on most, what you have already learned and what to prepare for next. Placing unrealistic expectations that may be too high for where you are now is a bridge to self sabotage. Grass won’t grow faster because you’re pulling on it. On the contrary, you might uproot it and destroy any progress you’ve made by pressuring yourself too much which is counterproductive. Let yourself breathe and flow through the learning process.
SELF-EMPOWERMENT IS THE REWARD
Learning any new skill is always a step toward self-empowerment. It’s proof to yourself that you can achieve what you set out to do, no matter the size or the seriousness of it. This can be extremely valuable in building your self-esteem and confidence which is essential to living a fulfilled life.
A self-empowered individual, one who is self-aware and practices self-acceptance, allows themselves the time to grow at their own speed, consciously and confidently, without beating themselves up for any challenges or mistakes that come with the process. To achieve this level of maturity is a reward in itself in that, once reached, it can be applied to any aspect of your life.
To learn more about this, please check out our self-empowerment through purpose program or contact me directly for a consultation.