Is fear getting in the way of being better… there was a time when we had no fear of failure – when learning to speak we weren’t afraid of being laughed at, when learning to walk we were not afraid of falling. So what happened?
Learning is what happened… we learned fear, we learned self-awareness and at some point we learned that failure was bad or humiliating. The funny thing is that on a deeper level we know that failure leads to learning.
So when I was asked how could we go back to learning without fear… my response was “know what you want to learn”. You may laugh and people did snort but after awhile I won them over. Think about it – how can we learn if we don’t know what we want to learn… the shear vastness can be overwhelming. So break it down into chewable chunks.
Here is an example, my client comes in and states I need to learn how to be more confident. It’s a good start but more information is required.
Like a detective… I delve in and ask all sorts of questions – where do you need to be confident, how do you define confidence, how do you know you don’t have it and how will you know when you do have it, are you confident in other areas…
These types of questions result in my client knowing exactly what they want to learn, what resources they already have and where to focus their attention – the thought of learning suddenly becomes less vast and thus less scary.
That’s the first step, the second is to focus on what you already know about the topic… here is a simple exercise to try.
Think of someone who is good at being confident someone who in your opinion does confidence really well. Do you need to know the person – no – it could be someone famous, someone you read about even a fictional character works… you only need to admire how, they do confidence.
Picture them being confident – you are simply watching, remembering, learning and listening… using the skills you know have – processing the information like you did as a child – noting everything so later you can mimic them.
- What is the person doing when displaying confidence – what words are they using, how are they breathing, their posture, their gestures…
- Be inquisitive and ask questions – what is going through your head when you do this, what are feeling, what is your motivation… if you cannot ask them directly imagine what their response would be
- Listen with the intention of learning – just absorb the information like a sponge
Now… practice, practice, practice and most importantly give yourself permission to learn this new approach and accept that it won’t be perfect – become friends with the learning you.
You are invited to try this technique in this order to loosen the grip of fear, build confidence and get on track with learning
Get specific about what you want to learn
- Identify what you already know
- Find someone you admire that does it well
Just Do it, live it, breath it within yourself first – You are becoming familiar and creating an authenticity with this new ability
- Practice it with friend, colleague, coach… people that want you to achieve success – Ask for feedback and … feedback is good you can choose what to take and what to park
- Practice with someone neutral – Ask your new “wiser-self” how did I do, do I need to change anything to make it genuine or more me
- Practice with someone you struggle with – Reflect, learn and make necessary changes
When the practice is easy you are within your comfort zone and it was just a knowledge thing so keep on going…
If practicing is too much of a challenge ask yourself… what is holding me back, where is the difficulty stemming from, what can I do to overcome this… and then be in control and do something about it.
Hope you have some fun with this practice.