Learn Something New

WRITTEN BY DIANE VACCARO

Recently I was with a group of 10 people learning something new. We were attending a 4 day training so that we could take what we were learning back to our jobs and teach others. Though we were a small group, we represented the spectrum of attitudes and behaviors associated with learning something new. 

First, there were 2 people who had a general understanding of the content and were eager to hone their knowledge and skills to better serve those they taught. They clearly had more experience than the other 8 of us. I noticed that this influenced the expectations that they had of themselves. They got the most frustrated while, at the same time, challenged themselves to greater heights than the rest of us dared. The other 8 of us were happy to complete a task while they pushed for more. I found it interesting how a little knowledge and experience made them hunger for more…to push themselves to see what was possible. They dreamed just a little bigger than the rest of us.

Next, there were 7 of us who had absolutely no idea what we were doing. We were starting with no previous knowledge and were there to learn completely new skills. We laughed; we made mistakes that needed to be corrected; we applauded our own accomplishments. We were so proud of ourselves for each new thing we learned. We wanted to learn, and our attitudes influenced what we were able to accomplish.

And then there was one. One person who appeared to want to be there, appeared to participate, appeared to invest. Yet, I noticed this person was the first to leave 3 of the 4 days, most of those days leaving the team to complete a job. I also noticed that this person didn’t seem to be “all in” when working on the project with the team. Something just seemed less-than-committed. And I wondered…did this person benefit from the 4 days of training like the rest of us did? Will this person return to their job feeling ready to teach like the rest of us feel ready to teach? 

Are you a learner? Are you someone who is open to learning as much as possible? Honestly, I would have never signed up for this training if I hadn’t been sent. I was “volun-told” to go. I repeatedly told myself, “I can learn new things. I can do hard things.” And I’m right. I can learn, and I can do hard things. It turned out the I loved what I learned.

So get out there and take the opportunity to learn! Be a learner. You’ll unleash more of your potential.

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