We’re presented with new challenges each day, whether we’re in the office, working from home, or on the go. Learning something new adds to a challenge and can sometimes make our days longer and harder. It’s how we respond to those tougher days that helps us grow.
Let’s take a trip to the not-so-distant past: my senior year of high school. The time came to take the SAT. My score was lower than the average. I worked endlessly to bring my score up from a 630 to a 700 to get into college. The last thing I wanted to do was take time out of my day to study strategy and “test-taking skills.” I wanted to be with my friends and practicing football with my teammates. This was one of the first times in my life when I had to apply learning on a whole new level, but I also began to understand the importance of the process.
I conquered this challenge. I brought my score up and got into college against all the odds. But not after calling every day to see if I was admitted. I practiced endlessly and was open to learning something foreign. With all of the calling and studying, I learned a lifelong lesson, “commit to the process and turn practice into habit.” And if you want something, you really can’t leave it to fate, you have to be persistent. I could have put the SAT on the back burner, but if I had, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Over the years I’ve learned how to overcome some of the challenges of learning new things and the strategy involved in this…
Learning Challenge #1
It’s a well-known fact that I’ve always been a big fan of football! I love the strategy, the teamwork, and the skills that build off each other resulting in a great team. I coach my son Max’s fifth grade football team and it has come with its fair share of learning challenges. I’ve been playing football for years, but, recently, I’ve had to figure out how to communicate with fifth graders. Video game obsessed, easily distracted, high energy, 10–11-year-olds. I have to capture their attention and use a language they can understand to keep it.
SOLUTION: Watch + Listen + Do
Max and his teammates needed to learn how to be observant. People learn in all different ways, so I switched things up and decided to show instead of tell. I started recording all of their plays for each game. After the game, I reviewed the footage and went over the plays with the team.
Because of this change, the players are learning in a new way, and I can communicate with them better than before. They watch the recorded video, listen to critiques, and either try to do the same play again or alter it to be more successful. Now, we as a team are able to learn with ease and we’re more successful than ever.
The Watch + Listen + Do rule can be applied to any area of life. Try it when you face your next challenge. See if you get different results and a better learning outcome.
Learning Challenge #2
Your supervisor at work wants you to learn how to use the new company app so you can be more knowledgeable about sales, increase customer retention, and be up to date on new products in the market. You may be reluctant to change your habits and push this off as long as possible, deciding you know how to do your job best. When your supervisor comes to check-in on you and the work you’ve done, you lie and say the app was malfunctioning and hard to work with.
SOLUTION: Cut the B.S. – Go back and put in the time!
Procrastination is one of knowledge’s biggest competitors. You know you’re going to have to eventually learn how to work this app, so why waste time and lie to your supervisor? The lies will catch up with you and so will your long to-do list. You might even see a negative change in your sales if you don’t start using the app.
Cutting the B.S. allows for a more vulnerable and trustworthy environment. When you’re honest with your coworkers, it creates a healthier and less competitive work environment.
Learning takes time and, depending on the task, it can be exhausting. I assure you that with your newfound knowledge, you’ll become a stronger decision maker who can weigh options for the best solution.
Remember, just like me studying for the SAT and calling to check on my admission status day after day, you didn’t work hard at something new for nothing. You have to commit and turn that commitment into a lifelong habit! Soon, your hard work and time will be rewarded with the fact that you are now a better problem-solver, both in your professional and personal life. Be an observant person. Cut the B.S. because in the end, it’s exhausting for you and everyone else involved.