How much risk we should each take in growing in any skill?

© lumyy010

© lumyy010

Some play it safe. This is understandable. Wounds from past experience may inhibit us from trying anything new. However, this is very self-limiting. We will never come near to our full potential with hesitation as a life strategy.

Then there is the other extreme: radical recklessness. Clearly some people are an accident waiting to happen. The reckless can be merely naive, but they can also be pretentious, aping a a skill they don’t yet have. But they don’t fool others for long. Most of us can tell a fraud.

No, there is a happy medium. There is a zone between these two extremes where learning new levels of skill is appropriate. There is a such a thing as appropriate stretch, appropriate self-challenge.

Think about how parents encourage a coach a young infant to learn a new skill like walking. They don’t get frustrated by the infant falling. They understand that this is part of the learning process. Instead, they encourage the child to make another attempt and praise them for their efforts. In this supportive environment the child learns a new skill.

So who encourages you when you fall?

Or what about resuming an exercise regime? Many have injured themselves from attempting too much too quickly. Others abandon routines that didn’t show results quickly enough.

Appropriate Stretch

Appropriate Stretch

As adults we find that we move into environments that aren’t that supportive of mistakes. In fact, some work environments are positively hostile towards any kind of error. They inhibit healthy experimentation.If we fail, emotionally we feel like we will die. In these places people just keep their heads down and get on in their current level of competence, protecting themselves as much as possible. Such cultures do not position people to grow.

We must find our own ways of creating appropriate self-challenge, of observing and encouraging ourselves.

In business, many are seeking their own learning through Google, Amazon, Lynda, YouTube and other places. The problem here is inappropriate stretch. I can’t tell you how often I abandon a YouTube video because the stretch is not appropriate for me, for where I am in my learning journey. Like the porridge in the three bears story, too often its too hot (too hard) or too cold (too trivial).

Unless there is appropriate stretch, we never learn – or learn poorly – and we struggle grow new skills. So it’s not merely a matter of “Just in time” training, it’s also about appropriate stretch in that moment. And that’s not an easy thing to serve up to a stranger.

In pearcemayfield, we are looking to provide appropriate stretch: that optimum learning solution for each client. It’s not easy, because each client has a part to play in this as well.

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