Provoking Potential: The Key to Helping People Grow

Ever find yourself stepping into an opportunity lacking mastery of the critical skills necessary to get the results you want? You may not even have a clear understanding of what success looks like, but you certainly know what humiliation feels like when your results aren’t quite matching expectations.

You want to be a fast learner and earn praise immediately, but in reality, time and experience are often necessary for building muscle memory that leads to such positive feedback. Making matters even more challenging, some people learn certain skills faster than others.

The pain of this discomfort is the reason so many people simply stay in the roles they’re comfortable in, even if doing so means greater joy in the long run. Being a beginner—regardless of age or generation—is challenging, and it’s made especially difficult when the person responsible for teaching you is impatient and harsh.

It is that level of impatience and harshness that lead me to quitting a job in a city where I didn’t know anyone, with $37 to my name and a thousand-dollar rent payment coming due. That harshness is also what led me to teaching leaders how to give candid, compassionate feedback nearly fifteen years ago.

Interestingly, we’ve all been the newbie multiple times in our lives. We know what it feels like, and yet we often forget the kind of compassion and cheerleading we once craved.

Ultimately, you get through the discomfort and figure out how to succeed, or you move onto something different. Then, time passes and you forget what it was like to be a beginner. As a result, it’s easy to repeat that same level of irritability and frustration as you step into positions of leadership. Thus, the cycle continues as the joy of growth suffers.

Recently, I took a course put on by top experts. The course and content are irrelevant, but the lesson is universal to all aspects of work and life.

Roughly two days into the course, I found myself struggling greatly to use this newfound information effectively. Recognizing my need for clarification and support, I approached one of the experts on staff with some questions.

Her response—“You shouldn’t be having these concerns.”

Unsettled, and wanting to get it right, I approached another expert with the same concern. This time I was met with the kind of compassion and understanding that allowed me to clearly see the piece I had been missing.

It can be easy to forget what it is like to be the newbie, and to get caught up in thinking everyone learns at the same pace. Such thinking simply isn’t helpful.

The best way to strengthen your ability to help others in their learning process is to intentionally put yourself in the position of being a newbie. Eliciting this level of discomfort inside of you helps tap into your natural compassion, leading to unexpected breakthroughs for you and your team.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

P.S. Get a jumpstart on your 2018 goals by grabbing your Gearing for Greatness session today. Email me at Misti@ MistiBurmeister.com to create your next breakthrough.

 

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