Karting – or any hobby – can help you succeed at work. How? Not as you might expect.
You might think that hobbies are important to a balanced life. . . and they are. You might think that hobbies can help you express your creativity. . . and they do.
But what I’m talking about today is how our favorite pastimes help us become better learners. And the miraculous, tumultuous, ever-changing 21st century that we find ourselves in demands it.
Our amount of shared knowledge, thanks to the internet, is skyrocketing. Technology advances hourly. We are living in one of the most amazing times in history!
We are also living in a troubling time. It’s in our nature to relish being experts at our jobs, yet in this new environment, we have to learn to be novices again. We are now in a world where best practices are constantly changing.
And we have to change with them. We have to learn new things that may not fit with our old ideas.
Yikes. I hear you. Who wants to be a newbie at anything again, when being a master is so much more fun?
You want to be good at your job. You want to progress from novice to expert as smoothly and quickly as possible. I find you so human and lovable for that.
Recently I read Be Bad First, by Erika Andersen. She encourages us to prepare for the unknown future by learning to be comfortable with being a novice. Every day.
Hobbies, such as karting, photography, beekeeping, or cooking, are fantastic ways to get in touch with the part of us that doesn’t completely wig out over being a rookie. We can study our behavior, and then respond to learning opportunities at work in similar ways.
So what can we learn from our hobbies?
Embrace Your Curiosity
Last weekend I shot photos of two friends karting on a racetrack. As rookies, they’re both still learning how to maintain their karts, as well as how to drive competitively. They are curious, inquisitive, and quick to learn new skills.
And I showed up, camera in hand, determined to learn how to capture speed. I want to know how to shoot photos that have a blurry background but the karts are in focus. I was eager to practice panning my camera, moving it at the same speed as the action.
So that morning, I considered success to be one good photo taken by panning. Just one. (I shot the karting photos I’m sharing in this post.) Success for my friends was to learn more about driving. And to not break any bones.
Success for us was about satisfying our curiosity. None of us minded that we’re still learning – in fact, that’s a big part of the fun. There is a joy in the exploration, and a light-heartedness in not having to have all of the answers.
What is your favorite hobby? What do you enjoy most about it? Do you feel a sense of childlike wonder when you are fully participating in it?
You can use this same sense of wonder, this curiosity, when you are at work. Catch yourself thinking, “I wonder. . .” or “What if?” and then follow your curiosity to fresh ideas. Embracing your curiosity at work with a novice mind frame makes you more open to learning something new.
Monitor Your Self-Talk
Whether you’re karting, shooting pictures, or learning a new software program at work, the voice in your head plays a role in your success.
Your voice might be more of a gremlin than a cheerleader.
You might hear it say, “Well CRAP A CUPCAKE. I totally screwed up, and I did it in front of my co-workers. Ugh. I suck at this. And I’m always gonna suck at this.”
Not fun, right? With that voice bringing you down, learning something new will be exponentially more difficult.
When the voice in your head is harsh or negative, chances are you’ve just run head first into your values you acquired along the way from other people. (As opposed to our core values, our intrinsic guiding principles that we were born with.)
As a coach, I help my clients understand that it’s natural for us to adopt values from our family, friends, social media, and culture. Often we may try to align our thinking and decisions around these acquired values, and they may not even be our own. Sometimes these acquired values (such as appearance or status) keep us from trying something new because it’s too painful to not be an expert. They may have served us well at one time, but if negative self-talk is holding us back, it’s time to reconsider.
On the other hand, when you are living congruently with your core values, you will be at your best. Self-talk generated from your core values sounds more like this. . .
“I may not be good at this right now, because I’ve never tried it before. But I have a long, long history of figuring things out. I value learning. I know that one day soon I’m gonna ROCK this.”
You go, girl!
That voice is taking you places. The future is yours.
If you are interested in exploring your core and acquired values, contact me for a free strategy session. I’d love to work with you to help you be your best self.
What voice do you hear when you’re having fun with a hobby? I bet she’s a cheerleader, and if so, bring her to work with you! Her encouragement can make being a novice much more comfortable.
Allow Yourself to Screw Up
My friends have endured their share of rookie mistakes on the track. They do things like:
- Forget to bolt down the brake, and are unable to come to a stop. Yikes.
- Forget to bolt down the accelerator, and are unable to come to a stop. Hmmm. . .
- Break ribs.
Ahh. Good times.
As for me and photography, I have made lots of mistakes too:
- I get a little dreamy when I’m playing photographer, and twice now I have tripped and dramatically fallen. Once while staring up at a Giant Sequoia. The second time in front of a pen of pigs. Yes, pigs. I can’t explain it, people.
- I spent the morning shooting pictures of adorable baby owls. The best photos ever of the cutest birds ever. And when I returned home, I realized I had never put the memory card in my camera. I didn’t capture one shot that day.
- I woke before dawn and drove over an hour to a photo shoot, and realized I’d left my camera at home. Ok, both cameras. I left both cameras at home with my dog. I showed up with nothing but a tripod. Still frustrated about this one. We will speak of this to no one.
What newbie mistakes have you made, while enjoying your hobby? How easily are you able to laugh about it? Your willingness to be a novice, to learn new things even though it means you’re going to screw up, will serve you well at work.
For nonprofit organizations to thrive, we must create cultures of wellbeing, where learning new things – and all the mistakes that go with that – are celebrated. Every employee needs a safe space to explore, discover, and learn.
We can do it!
P.S. Interested in learning how you can align your life with your core values? Click here for more information.