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Trying new things is an important way to build your skillset and knowledge.
It can get messy and bring up insecurities and confusion as the new insights mix with the old knowledge and you are caught figuring out how to keep, discard, and build upon it all.
Still, you can get to a point where your confidence is greater than 7our capabilities. And, then error on thinking expertise means that you somehow have a corner on the market of being incapable of making big mistakes or can avoid the process of experimentation and practice.
It’s a mental balancing act for sure. But, don’t let that stop you from trying new things, building confidence, making mistakes, and deciding what to ultimately keep pursuing within the constraints of the time available.
Episode 131 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 131 trying new things. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? It’s interesting to watch Children learn and try new things. And I’ve especially noticed this lately as my son embarks on another level of learning and one of his recent discoveries is a sport called gaga ball. And if you look it up on the internet, you can see that this is in some parks and playgrounds and schoolyards around the United States and perhaps beyond and it’s a hexagon of either wood or plastic or other materials that stands about two or three ft tall and there’s an opening for kids to enter and basically you’re trying to get each other out by pushing this ball towards other people that are in the gaga ball pit and it’s very easy to get hit because you’re in this small enclosed space and you have to jump out of the way and there’s certain rules to follow because you don’t kick it. You have to hit the ball, you can only hit it once and it has to hit the wall or something and it’s allowed to hit your upper body but not your lower body. And there’s all these different rules that I’ve been made aware of. And when my son first discovered it, he was very disappointed in himself because he was not making it to the quote unquote finals. Apparently part of each recess, there’s a gaga ball game and you want to make sure that you keep away from the ball and hit it enough so that you don’t get out. And apparently there’s finals involved in this, right? So they have some kind of process of elimination. And as he’s learned about this game, he’s learned how to play it better. But he’s also noticed how some kids are dishonest in the process. They say no, it didn’t hit me. No, it didn’t hit me. And they’ll say it like five or six times and they’ll still be in the pit and they’ll get to the finals and he will recognize that they shouldn’t be in the finals at the same time he has asked me to go play with him and I realize that as we’re playing that if he gets hit too many times, he starts questioning whether or not he should admit that he’s been hit because this puts him in jeopardy of losing to his mommy and that is really not cool. But I support him on this because I see that he’s learning and trying and we get to have discussions about being honest when we play sports and about practicing and all of these great lessons gaga ball is very hard for me to play because the taller you are, the further down you have to reach to hit this ball. And so I’m wondering how long gaga ball will be part of his life experience in the process of this. We’ve been going to the library for a few activities and one day we pulled out a game of checkers at the library and he recognized that the last time he played checkers was actually at a cracker barrel in Virginia or on a family trip or something. And it was a very large checkers set and he played it outside with daddy on those rocking chairs at cracker barrel that you sit on as you wait your turn to get a table. He decided he liked checkers while we were playing at the library and asked if we could buy a game and I said sure if you do certain chores and we meet certain other criteria of behavior, we can go to the store and get a $5 checker game. It’s not a problem. Before we could do that. We decided to look it up on the internet to see if checkers existed on the internet. And of course it does those of you who play a lot of games online and offline would know this. And so he discovered how to play checkers against the computer or how to pull me in to be another player or how to find other games on the website like chess. By the time we went to the store this week to get checkers and came home to play it. I noticed that he wasn’t really aware of the rules of checkers anymore because he had been learning more about chess, but because the game board looks similar, it was a little confusing to him still, he’s enjoying learning about these games and noticing what he knows and what he doesn’t know about them. This is fascinating for me to watch because I’ve always felt like it’s important to try new things and learn them, but in the process of doing that, it kind of shakes up our current knowledge and makes things a little more confusing as you try to absorb the old with the new and decide what to discard and what to keep from what you knew before. And in this process, I’m noticing that he’s getting a lot of confidence and that we all get a lot of confidence as we learn, but sometimes our confidence is far ahead of our capabilities and to watch and see how this can become a hindrance as we try new things because we start thinking or hearing from other people that we are smart or we’re a fast learner or that this is something that we’re good at and in those moments where we start thinking that it can serve us, but it can also be a detriment because we want to have confidence to take on new skills and try new things, but at the same time being open to have that spirit of experimentation and being okay with making mistakes and being content if we are not as good at it as someone else. this is easy to watch in a young person getting frustrated, that they’re not as good at something that they’re just trying out while also noticing that they get extra confident quickly. If people start saying you’re so good at that you’re so smart. I had an experience about 10 years ago where one of the leaders in my organization said that I could be one of the people that presented some thoughts on mobile learning in a video that was being produced, I was really afraid, I am not an actress, I am not someone that sees myself being part of any video production, let alone being on the actual screen of the video. But I did my hair that day, I put on my makeup, I went into the room knowing what I wanted to talk about because I was actually living the experience of applying mobile learning in our environment. So I wasn’t having to make up anything. I was speaking from true experience and mistakes and it was very interesting because after the video footage came back, someone at work said wow, who was that woman and they were looking at a video of me and I turned to them and I said that’s me and they said what? And they were very surprised because the video quality was so high, it made me look better than I actually looked in real life apparently. But it was a very amazing experience for me because I got confidence in that moment of being in front of the camera and from that point I got the courage to start setting up appointments with our video studio on our campus and interviewing different people that were involved in our initiative and they started to get more comfortable in front of the camera as well. Now I never thought of myself as an expert, I just thought it was great that this medium that I did not think that I would enjoy was actually a great medium for me to learn more about and for others that worked with me to get confident learning about. So it’s really interesting years later to see how many of us have to be involved in creating videos, being on video, leading many meetings through zoom and other web conferencing tools and we’re doing it in a way we least expected because most of the people I work with are used to being on hundreds of meetings a year. But our goal was not to show our face, it was to show the system or the power point or the website and yet we’ve gone through this experience and learned some skills and I’m so grateful. I tried something new because now it’s a skill, I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in it. I wouldn’t say that this is my life dream or goal to become excellent at video production or being on screen doing anything for video, but it is something that I now have in my toolkit to help others understand certain concepts and to share lessons learned and information today before recording this podcast, I had to create an introduction and a closure video for a consulting gig that I’m working on and even with all of my practice over the years, It still took me 54 recordings to get what I thought was good enough. And then when I recorded my second video it took about 20. Now of course I accomplished this all within three hours, but there was a lot of stopping and starting along the way and there was a lot of refining the message in my head as I approached the next recording and I had to remind myself in the process that it’s okay Rebecca you have more to learn, it’s okay. It doesn’t take that long to rerecord it, it’s okay if it’s not perfect, you still know some stuff and you can share it and to remind myself that this is just part of the process and every once in a while I think that it has to go imperfectly to remind us that we never fully arrive, there’s always something more to learn and it’s okay. Information changes situations, change tools, technology and all the things change. But what is important is to keep that spirit of learning and to continue to be willing to try something new and to be amateur at it. And then when you feel like you’re an expert to go wait a second, being an expert may not serve me, it may mean I get stagnant in my learning, Maybe I need to try something to remind myself that there’s always room for improvement and for growth in the process. I am being reminded of this daily as I teach a young person how important it is to be confident in yourself and your abilities while also being open to learn and to make mistakes and to not expect perfection in every single thing you try. I’ve had to teach him about time and how it would be great to be awesome at golf and swimming and basketball and checkers and chess and math and reading and watching shows and going to all the stories you want to go to, but there’s this constraint, we all have called time and we need to make choices so all this to say that I hope today that you continue to keep a spirit of learning no matter how expert you are and to recognize that mistakes and experiments can continue to be part of the process and it’s completely normal and advantageous to have mistakes and experimenting as part of the process and as you go about doing this and really deciding what’s the most important to focus on. Can you let go of being really great at something, if that means you have more time to focus on another priority and can you let go and not make it mean something about yourself that is negative, You have the opportunity to find an offer up your best work. And one of the ways to do that is to continually learn and experiment and refine what you are going to focus on. But I also encourage you to remember all of those learnings because even if they seem unrelated to what you actually want to spend your time doing it can inform your decisions and help you look at solutions to solve problems in different ways than someone who becomes an expert in one thing. Okay, my friends go forward, keep trying to learn new things, acknowledge your growth, keep practicing and stay open. I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com. Mm hmm.