Building skills takes time. For some it may take no time at all, for others literally a lifetime.
I have conversations with individuals everyday, I know what works well, for almost everyone.
From NDIS clients through to individuals, teams and organisations, I have evidenced, what supports individuals to build skills, that stick with them for life. And I have noticed is it is more about meaning, than the skill itself.
Often when you hear the words ‘skills building’ you might be tempted to think of long drawn out, boring, monotone learning styles that create repetitive actions. Learning news skills is an investment for every individual. Their levels of investment vary greatly, however the meaning attributed is often similar. It is through real conversation and practice, new skills are adopted.
What I have observed is that the biggest factor of success, is the time. It is vulnerability you share with an individuals that makes a real difference. Logically, in your head right now you might think, well that is not rocket science. And you would be right. However, it is often where things fall short. Think of a time in your life, personal or professional, where you were asked to learn something new, and you were not given enough time. How did that go for you?
In that one interaction of skills building, between individuals, there is so much more to it.
There are long held mental patterns, environmental triggers, attributed memories or meanings, limitations of all natures, lack of relationships and helpful attitudes, that are part of new skills. What I have observed is, that although we want new skills, often time factors are not realistically assessed, and that’s when there are failures.
It’s all the incidental conversations, questioning and real time actions occuring, that creates the most significant success.
How to learn a new skill
- Understand why the skill is needed. Talk about it upfront. Associate it with the meaning or value of having it.
- Create awareness of any attitudes associated with learning, that are limiting. Try to re-frame these.
- Create awareness of, and then WORK ON, attitudes attributed to the skill or area of interest.
- Give yourself time to do it well. Acknowledge when you do it well.
- Give yourself time to be clumsy, both valuable to create curiosity, questioning and comprehension.
- Know how you learn best, and ask others to support you in these ways.
- Let others know how best to stretch your learning. Communicate with others about your learning needs.
- Remember that mastery may not be the goal.
- Remember that being able to do it at all, may be the goal.
- Adopt an experimental attitude to learning. Sometimes it is enough to put one foot in front of the other.
And this is a notion to believe in. Sometimes in life we may take steps forward without knowing why or how we did it.
Learning does involve many steps. Sometimes, it is enough to put one foot in front of the other, to keep moving forward. When you have time and energy to double-back, then this is your moment to create that reflective practice.
Ask yourself the questions about what went well, and what was different this time, to be able to create an attitude where you learn best. These steps to help you learn new skills also get you to manage your expectations and communicate these with others.
Setting expectations in learning is critical. It supports you to manage your behaviour and thinking and communicate with others about this, enabling them to understand your behaviour and thinking. When you do this, you may co-opt or even bond with others that can support your learning goals.