Learning to Adapt

As some of you may know, I had planned to do a full series on the Stages of Change model.  I started it, and as it turns out, it wasn’t really that interesting.  I know this because there were only two readers for three posts.  For all I know, it could have been the same reader.  Therefore, I have decided to move on.  One of the major tenets of my coaching philosophy is that our goals may change and that we have to learn to adapt.  Ok, so maybe that really counts as two tenets, but they do fit together quite nicely.  In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I offer you a completely unrelated post.

A reoccurring theme in my life is that of learning.  And thank goodness for that because in my personal philosophy I believe that we cease to live when we stop learning.  The thing that is so incredible about this theme is the sheer amount of that which I am learning.  When I stop to think about everything I have learned over the past several years, I can’t believe there is really any room left in my brain for it all.  I am learning how to be a wife, a mother, and a business woman.  I am also learning how to garden on a rather large-scale.  My knowledge of food preservation is also growing a great deal.  I am also spending some time getting to know myself even more because the roles I play in my life have changed drastically over the past four years.  It is simply amazing how much there is to learn and how much I wish to learn.

The interesting bit about learning is that it is not always experienced in the same way.  For instance, today, as I reflect on my learning journey, I feel excited and energized by my experience.  However, on the days my son is learning how to exert his independence by exploring all the drawers in my home, I feel frustrated by my experience of learning to teach him restraint.  It is a pretty broad spectrum of emotion that is experienced on the learning journey, but entirely necessary.  It is how we respond to these emotions that really shapes the learning experience.  I have found that it all really comes back to being patient.  I have chosen to do a number of things with my life that require a great deal of patience: motherhood, entrepreneurship, and homesteading.  I don’t think I have ever had to exercise this amount of patience at any other point in my life.

Some days when I am learning, I have minor meltdowns.  Admit it, you do too.  Those moments where words start flying out of your mouth that you seem to have little to no control over.  They are almost beings in their own right.    Hopefully, you have learned how to allow those meltdowns to only occur in the privacy of your own home, if not, I encourage you to find someone who can help you with that.  Also, if you have children, you may also need to learn how to stifle them until they are in bed, or at a friend’s house.  As we know, meltdowns are OK and forgivable, but not a really useful or productive means to dealing with life.  These moments of meltdown are when we need to lean on our partners and learn as a team rather than an individual.  For those of the sporting persuasion, I see learning more as a game of football than the 100 meter hurdles.

The experience of learning is as important as the specific skill you are developing.    That is a piece many of us forget.  It is so easy to forget because you are trying so damn hard to figure out how to teach your toddler not to throw food all over the flippin’ dining room…  That’s when you stop, and have a laugh with your partner about how silly it is to get frustrated over something so normal.  Most everything comes with time and it is important to enjoy the process of learning and growing.  In my life I am learning many new skills, but I am also learning lessons that just help me to become a better person, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?

Take a moment to think about a skill that you have acquired or improved recently.  What were the highs and lows?  Did you learn something about yourself in addition to the skill?  Share a bit of that story with us…we might all learn something 🙂

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Patience

I plan to post just once a week, but this topic is weighing on my mind today.  Most everyone has heard the phrase, “patience is a virtue,” at some point in their life.  Some more than others if they have a particular struggle with this particular virtue.  I have heard this many times, and I think it might actually be the only virtue.  Why is it that our culture puts so much value on patience?  It seems rather odd to even ask such a question in a world filled with smart phones, diet drugs, and fast food restaurants.  However, there must be some value to patience if that colloquialism is so prevalent.

Perhaps patience is so important because we have forgotten how to be patient.  It is so easy to become aggravated when something isn’t happening as quickly or in the manner that you would like.  We’ve been conditioned to expect things yesterday and customized to our exact preference.  I find patience to be a major reoccurring theme in my life.  I become impatient with my husband, my son, and myself.  It often seems that after the moment of impatience passes, that I am able to see with clarity that events would have gone much more smoothly if I had just let things unfold as they needed to, rather than trying to bend them to my will.  Now, in general, I am a pretty easy-going individual and am able to take life as it comes, but just like many of you, when I’m in a hurry, in the middle of my own project, tired, hungry, etcetera, my easy-going nature can go on a brief vacation.

Lately, I have been reflecting on how practicing extra patience can make one’s life much more enjoyable.  It can be difficult at times, but I DO NOT enjoy being frustrated, aggravated, or angry.  Those three emotions do not bring me any closer to my goals and often set me back (granted, reacting to them in a proactive manner does help).  I am working on taking a moment to pause when I begin to feel impatience creeping into my consciousness.  In that pause I can ask myself, “What’s the rush?  Does this change in plans really matter?  Is my impatience doing harm to someone else?  What can I find to be joyful about in this moment?”

If I am a true believer that life is a journey and that true joy in life is to be found in our daily living, why be impatient?  It is the times that plans fall apart, your day gets interrupted, and the instruction booklet goes missing that we are truly living and likely making memories we will never forget.  Approaching life with the attitude that there is always knowledge to be gained or a lesson to be learned can help turn impatience into something that, at the very least, doesn’t make you want to poke your eyes out.