The workshop presenter had just given us an assignment, “List 50 successes in five minutes.” My husband sat absolutely still for the first four minutes, then he began writing furiously. He told me later that he couldn’t think of any successes until it occurred to him that at some point in life he had learned to walk. From the thrill of those first wobbly steps he was able to recall a whole lifetime of success.
My grandson just turned a year old and he has recently mastered those same wobbly first steps. What I love about watching him is the absolute joy on his face… a “look at me, I’ll walking” kind of smile. He knows he is doing something BIG.
Like most of us, you’ve already mastered the skills needed to get from point A to point B. However, when was the last time you deliberately set out to master a new physical skill? And why would you, anyway?
There are several reasons learning a new physical skill can help you in your career. First, learning something new breaks up the ruts in your brain. When you learn a new skill the brain creates new pathways and connects parts of the brain that were not engaged before. It helps with whole brain thinking. Also, improved brain attributes from with regular physical activity include increased cerebral blood flow, changes in hormone levels, enhanced nutrient intake, and greater alertness. Food for thought?
Secondly, learning a new skill like painting, skiing, or yoga can release stress and recharge you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors’ of The Power of Full Engagement, say “Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.” In order to perform at full capacity at work, you need to do something different to recharge your energy. Have you ever worked fourteen hours and realized that you were not very productive the last six? You are better off going bowling, so your mind can recharge, than staying at the office and foolishly believe you are being productive.
And lastly, when you conquer a new skill you can add it to your list of life successes. If you take up running you can celebrate the finish of your first 5K or if you take up fly fishing you can revel in that first fish. It’s the celebration of the little wins that gives us the energy to tackle the next obstacle. When you breeze right past that completed report or successful presentation because you have another one due yesterday, you miss out on the joy of accomplishment. The least you can do is smile a “look at me, I walking” smile before you dive into your next assignment.
Step out and learn something new. You may be wobbly but think of the joys and benefits in mastering something new. Your list of life successes just gone longer!
Here’s to your success,
Linda Sommer, MBA