There Are No Limits
September, back to school, and a post about learning? Three of my absolute favourite things!
As I get ready to send the kids back to school it sends me into a state of reflection. They are eagerly chatting about their upcoming year, wondering what their teacher will be like, or who will be their friends in classes, or what they will do at recess or gym class. It’s interesting to note that while they are heading back to a formal learning institution they aren’t focused on what they will learn. They are focused on the experiences they hope to get. The irony is, it’s not the repetitive repetition (pun intended) of multiplication tables that create the learning, the most profound learning comes from experiences. It comes from the actual manipulation of the numbers, or seeing what happens when there are two piles of five cars each. Then the 2 X 5 becomes tangible.
I have witnessed many examples of how the experience is the learning. In my corporate day job, I work with adults in learning. Not only do I get the pleasure of learning first hand, I get to live vicariously through the people I work with as they too, come to their aha moments. The interesting thing I find with corporate learning is that senior leadership will seek out the learning team, and let us know that a specific person/team needs a course/training. It seems to be the catch all step. And yet, when we ask questions about what it is they aren’t doing, often times it turns out what they don’t need training at all. It’s coaching, or a new experience. You may have heard of the 70-20-10 principle in learning. The essence basically says that as adults, the way we learn is:
- 70% experiential
- 20% by getting coaching and mentoring on the experience we are trying
- 10% by formal learning
And yet when comes time for folks to think about their growth and development, the first thing they put on their plan is a course. Ten per cent, people. That’s all you will get, and if you don’t come back to your day job ready to immediately start doing what you just learned, and have someone in your corner to support and coach you when you stumble at first, what you really had was a vacation from the office life. I run workshops with new managers to help them work with their teams to understand the importance of experience in learning. And guess what? When they get asked this simple question (my secret weapon), “tell me the most memorable (or best) learning experience you’ve ever had,” every time, without fail, the answer relates to a scenario where the person actually did the thing, was completely challenged, and likely uncomfortable. But they did it. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for books and for background information; however, inevitably, you can read all the books and manuals you want, you still won’t learn to drive until you actually get behind the wheel of the car and feel the car respond to the touch of your foot on the accelerator or the brakes. Perhaps this is a huge aha for most. And it drives home the point.
What have I learned personally? The biggest thing is that I learn almost everyday, I am a lifelong learner. I could theme it in a few areas that stand out for me and yes, you guessed it, the learning came from being scared and doing it anyway:
- The stuff you really need to know about the early years of child rearing, does not appear published in any book, it’s sometimes scary, but you get through it. And then, you curse the baby books for not having warned you about whatever the experience was!
- I am not here to teach my kids, they are here to teach me. Most wondrously, they teach me to slow down, they teach me to really look at the butterfly or the caterpillar or the cloud shaped like a bowl of spaghetti. They teach me to have fun and laugh. Remember when you were a kid they ask, and inevitably something goofy happens. In that moment, there is pure joy, and no cares about what others might think, or questioning about how they should be asking. Some days, (many more lately as we draw to the end of the summer), they teach me patience. They remind me of the importance of stopping, taking a breath. They remind me to meditate every day -sometimes twice! They are wise beyond their years. And I humbly learn from them.
- Grey hairs are earned and called wisdom highlights (also can be called platinum highlights).
- Stretching before and after vigorous exercise actually takes more time than the exercise itself.
- Having a quiet weekend with nothing to do, is not only awesome, but rewarding and rejuvenating. Imagine slowing down to enjoy nothingness.
- Stretch marks, age spots, wrinkles, and extra weight in the mid-section are my trophies. I have earned each and every one! They are reminders that I have lived, and survived, and thrived. This one took a while to get to, and no, I am not the mold that the magazines show, but I can say I am at peace with myself. I can say, I love myself. (Oh, this just evoked a little emotion here). Hear that inner child? I love you! Just the way you are! (I need a tissue now).
- Age is really just a number. The huge life-shifting leanings have only come in the last five to 10 years. Oh, to go back and tell my 25 year old self to calm down, because honestly, it will all work out, and better than expected.
If you think you can you will, if you think you can’t you won’t, either way you are right – Henry Ford: or There are no limits – be Free! (Thank you Huna Principle # 2)
This came through for me in a number of ways in the last few years:
- Energy healing: When Huna healing came into my awareness I just wanted to feel better and for my son to feel better too. When we both did, the student in me awoke and wanted to learn more. And, I read every book my teacher recommended and I googled everything on Huna, which because it means secret was a fairly short search. The essence of it though, while I could watch my teacher in action, while I could read about it, nothing happened until I actually, stopped, breathed and jumped in with two feet to feel and work with the energetic field. No amount of hearing someone talking about it was going to help me learn. And even now, healing practice in place and all, I learn, from each one of my clients. It’s incredible.
- Photography: Despite having my super deluxe camera for 10 years, I wanted to learn how to use the manual settings. So, I did take a course, thank you Antonia Giroux Photography! I needed to at least know the basics. But the doing, the getting out there with the different light, times of day, that’s how the learning happened, and continues to happen. It’s magic really!
- Forrest Yoga: I am the biggest gal in this class. And when I started six months ago I watched in awe as the limber ladies were effortlessly doing handstands, and inversions. At first my inner critic was loud, you can’t do that, and gravity works harder on you then on the skinny yogis – but I ignored that critic. I sweat, I cursed (sometimes under my breath, sometimes out loud), I even cried, but with a little extra cushioning on my body, I nailed it! yes, in my last class I did a handstand on the wall! Thank you Forrest Yoga in Milton, Ontario! Learning does involve practice and sweating, but it’s worth it!
What’s next in learning? Well, that book for sure, and the book tour. The Healing Centre opening up there too. And then? Whatever the world throws at me. I’ve got my sleeves rolled up and I am ready to dig in. Bring it world!
*photo credit: Me!