An extremely important mindset shift for learning

 
 

"Discomfort is the call to set yourself free." — Byron Katie

It is humbling, frustrating and sometimes overwhelming to be in the process of learning.

Humbling, because you realize you know less than you thought you knew.

Frustrating. because of what you do already know, there is a gap between how you know you can perform and how you actually do.

Overwhelming, because we don't know what we don't know and that not-knowing trips us up and makes us stumble.

But should we let that frustration and overwhelm keep us from moving forward?

It certainly can, for a time, but ultimately we have to begin somewhere if we want to go anywhere.

It is only through the discomfort of newness that we can accomplish a new level of self actualization.

This weekend, I attended the first part of my coach training for the Coaches Training Institute.

Fifteen participants, mostly women and most of us having never formally coached before (though most of us having inadvertently coached many friends and family members over our lifetimes).

We began to practice coaching each other right away, so it barely felt like there was time to balk and second-guess ourselves.

When you're that knew, like a fawn testing her new spindly legs, you're shaky but there's a unspoken permission to show up as you are.

But as you begin to learn, the ideas of how to "do it right" appear.

Even less than a week into the "official" part of coaching journey, I've been able to see where my tendencies gravitate as a coach.

I can see how the "good student" rears its head and compels me to do it "the right way."

Unfortunately, that might work in a classroom, but adhering to a rigid structure does not engender strong coaching.

The least effective coaching so far I've done is when I focus too much on what I think it should look like, making sure I have the right questions rather than intuitively creating the right conditions.

I listened to my first recorded call from a coaching session with a friend and cringed at what I heard. I sounded tentative, quiet and peppered the conversation with "um's" and hesitation.

Oof.

One might call that failure, but I could still draw out what was needed from the conversation to help her create value in moving actions forward.

It just could have been better.

But this is how we learn, swinging from one side of the pendulum to the other to find our own sweet spot.

My coaching performance is generally determined by how much I actually focus on how I'm performing. The less I care about how I'm doing, the more I can tend to the purposes and concerns of the person in front of me

The best coaching I've done is when I've surrendered to the flow of the conversation, continually directed the questions toward possibility and boldly challenged assumptions.

But it's uncomfortable to act without control and when there's the possibility of stepping on someone else's toes.

What feels overly aggressive on my end really just shows up as assertive on someone else's. Being bold shows that I can hold the agenda for someone else's exploration and better help them accomplish their aims.

Discomfort is okay, necessary even.

In fact, we stumble when we identify the discomfort of pushing boundaries as something that feels "bad."

Discomfort is not a bad force. It is a force for growth.

Instead of using discomfort as an indicator to stay away and to keep from expanding yourself and your limits, view discomfort as a metric that you're moving in the right direction.

Boldness is how we make progress, so make it your priority to forward your cause even as discomfort looms.

Let yourself be a beginner, let yourself be uncomfortable.

Iris Rankin

Soulful questioner, exuberant organizer, here to find the balance between discipline and delicious relaxation. Iris Rankin is the founder of Project Intention, a values-based community focused on living day-to-day with purpose, planning, and heart. Iris encourages women to adopt the self care practices that make them feel divine, the planning tools to hone in on their essential wants and needs, and the emotional resilience to express their most authentic selves.



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