Learning is a spiritual discipline. Every good thing – trait or skill – you see in me, I picked it up from someone because I was observant and willing to learn (and every lack you see, I am still learning or haven’t realized I need to learn).
I learnt efficiency and management from observing Sharon around her office and doing her daily work. I still learn every time I talk to her.
I learnt mentorship, self-expression, self-honesty, and good thought processes from my aunt Cathryn – simply by being open again and again to be corrected by her in some of the most directly confrontational and offensive ways, despite being an overly sensitive person at that time. I wrestled with choosing to remain open when it hurt and that was what counted most.
I am so, so much better a person because of what she did for me, and today, I learn the same boldness and love to do that for people I truly call friends. I learn her gentleness and grace of understanding where people are at, but refuse to tolerate seeing friends make mistakes without doing my part to warn them. I will not let fears about what they think of me stop me from speaking hard truths into their lives. I simply choose not to.
I learnt networking skills from observing people who are very, very natural at it. I note how they take initiative to connect, and clumsily, through many many mistakes, find my own unique way of relating to others – you cannot cut and paste everything!
I learnt technical skills because I did not run away every time I felt I couldn’t help. I stayed on to observe.
I picked up Mac, Tweetdeck and Google functions because I was willing to try new things despite being very comfortable where I was in my Jurassic techland! In fact I should have been more willing to upgrade faster, even if just to explore. Now I am still behind. 🙂 The more quickly you go out of your comfort zone, the more rewarding it is eventually.
All the creativity I have – drawing, playing the piano and violin, dancing…I worked hard and nurtured intentionally. Even as a little girl, God saw that I had a heart of a good steward, He blessed and multiplied. Reaping what you sow is God’s Natural Law that applies to everyone, Christian or not.
I learnt leadership failing forward, not being satisfied to squat under my glass ceiling or to stay at everyone’s level. You would not believe the amount of opposition I’ve had to overcome simply to get to the meagre place I’m at today – working through insecurities, fears of being a tall-poppy, and memories of people who’d celebrate when I failed in school, people who’d boo at me when I went on stage to receive prizes. Those terrifying and limiting memories shaped me, and to break past is Significant. If I can, you can too – in fact the bigger obstacles you overcome, the stronger you become.
Amidst all of that, it is important to build an altar in your heart and maintain a position that Thus Far the Lord Has Helped Us (1 Sam 7:2-12). That well-placed confidence will prevent pride from wrecking your success, I am learning.
Well, a dancer has to start moving clumsily before he can do the graceful dance. It’s a metaphor of life. What do you want to learn? You just gotta go out there and learn it, man. Just get off your bum and start doing it. Join the dance.