Learning New Skills

“I suck.” “I’m not good at this.” “I should just quit now.”

These are all common phrases we tell to ourselves when we begin learning a new skill. This negative self-talk will definitely not help us improve, but it is sure to discourage us enough to quit.

Learning a new skill is one of the most exciting, yet challenging situations we can put ourselves in. Think back to when you were first learning to ride a bike. I am sure you fell numerous times, cried, felt discouraged and wanted to give up. After each of these falls, though you did not recognize it at the time, you were becoming a better rider. Fast-forward a few weeks and many falls later, I bet you were riding up and down the street like it was second-nature. How awesome!

We have to remember this experience and understand that learning ANY new skill is no different than learning to ride a bike. Though failure can be tough, know that even your failure is getting you closer mastering that skill!

As we grow older, many of us give up on developing our skills. We begin to believe we are too old to learn new things, and are not as willing to learn as we used to be as kids. Basically, any skill was a new skill to learn as a kid, from the basics of reading, writing and even tying our shoes. However, we were always excited when we finally accomplished these simple feats! Let’s embrace that same excitement as adults!

For example, I recently became a local real estate agent in my area. Initially, I believed I would only use my license for myself because I was not interested in getting into the sales side of real estate. As an introvert, I was convinced sales was a skill too far outside of my wheelhouse. I assumed it to be a skill it I could never be good at.

Eventually, I decided to take on the challenge of embracing the sales side of real estate, and see it as an opportunity to learn a new skill, the very skill I deemed impossible for me to learn, sales!

“Oh my! How could you ever step so far outside of your comfort zone, Alex!? You better come back!” my mind tries to convince me daily.

Though it is still early in this skill development, and I have already failed many times, I am excited to witness my progress come to fruition down the road no matter how long that road may be.

We must all understand that falling on your face only gives you the opportunity to get right back up! It is up to us to choose whether to stay down or keep going.

Take hold of the opportunities to learn a new skill when you get the chance! Maybe there is an Excel class or writing workshop at your place of work or local college that you can sign up for. It is never too late to learn something new! Get excited! Be patience! And watch ourselves grow. J

Stand the Rain

Looking up at the sky, I search for answers.

I wish to calm these racing thoughts, and grip these wild emotions.

I ask God to help me, for I knew there was reason for it all.

What is wrong?

I am lost.

I am fearful.

I am confused.

It is silent.

I ride through the neighborhood,

The wheels of my bicycles were cranking a mechanical sound

As it grooved along the pavement.

It is enjoyable, for I am present.

I feel free from thought.

I look at the sky as its now grows dark.

Suddenly, a downpour of rain hits my thighs,

And soon drenches me from ponytail to sneaker.

I initially feel this discomfort and itch to rush home to shelter.

In withstanding the storm on my wet ride back home,

I am flooded with joy, beauty and appreciation for this warm summer-like rain.

What was once a feeling of discomfort was now joy?

I continued, peddled and peddled,

Wet as a dog.

Finally, the gray sky cleared back to blue.

It was time to go home.

I had completed my journey

And all of my questions were answered.

 

Xo.

Introverted Networking

The angst that builds in anticipation of having to attend a networking event has yet to subside. Though, I don’t expect it ever will.

T-25’s Shawn T had once said, “You grow when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone.” Now, yes, he was referring to doing that 11th burpee when you thought you were only expected to do 10, but this holds true in all facets of life.

Today I have a real estate investor networking, which I attend every month. There is this sort of conflicting feeling I have before the event…. Usually the thought about whether or not I should go.

On one hand, I want to work out, and get home after a long day at work to hang with my family, EAT, read my book, write and maybe watch Moving Art on Netflix, if I’m feeling really wild (Yeah, I’m really that boring).

In addition, my personality as an introvert inhibits this combative thought, similar to one I imagine a prey have when in the face of their predator.

I just want to run when I am confronted with having to attend social events filled with strangers. I know many people have these same sort of feelings toward networking—feeling super awkward, insecure and out of place in the room—and that is normal.

The people I perceive to be not-normal are those who don’t feel that way. Yeah, you know them. Those weird people who thrive in a social environment… Yeah, quite the contrary.

Currently, I am already stressing my attendance at this event. I go every month, meet new people every time, yet somehow it never gets less awkward.

Still, as much as I want to cop out of going, I never regret attending once I am there. This is something I have to remind myself of every time I try to convince myself, “I can’t go this time, I… [Insert excuse here]”.

The first networking event I ever attended, I stayed in the back of the hall with my notebook scribing, “The, The, The” over and over again. Yup, I was essentially a procrastinating SpongeBob. (See below)

Sponge

Luckily, my mentor had finally arrived and I stuck to him like white on rice.

I am not proud of such clinginess (Yes, boys, you’ve been warned), but it was like being at a party where the person you came with is the only one you know in the whole room.

Thankfully, he began to introduce me to other seasoned investors at the event as his assistant, and finally after 45 minutes of being a wallflower, my mouth had opened.

“Uhhh, yeah… I help Mark find deals,” I stuttered.

“Oh that’s great. What market do you focus in?”

“I look in North Jersey, Central Jersey, and Shore Points.”

They laughed jovially.

“So, all of New Jersey basically.”

I realize then my focus was probably too broad.

For a follow-up embarrassment, they asked, “How many deals have you done with Mark?”

Where of course, I shamefully answered, “None, but we almost had a one once.”

I could not get over the magnitude of humiliation I experienced talking to these experienced investors about almost-deals.

Still, after the event had concluded, I made some viable connections with people who I continue to see every month and make more and more connections every time.

These networking events are far outside of my comfort zone, but that is just the reason why I push myself to go.

Networking is scary and tiresome but so necessary because one connection can catapult your success.

You never know who you might meet.