My daughter-in-law sent me a video a few weeks ago that I can’t get out of my mind. The video was of my nine-month-old granddaughter, Kaylanni, learning to walk. I should have been amazed. I should have been proud; and I was. But more than the normal emotions, what got me was that she stopped, mid step, to steady herself and then, with sheer joy, clapped for herself.
Can we all take a breath and let that sink in? She stopped, steadied herself and then cheered herself on.
If you’re like me, you have a laundry list of things that you’re not learning fast enough, not doing correctly or that you could improve on. But do you ever just stop – mid step – to steady yourself, and then cheer yourself on? Do you ever give yourself that time to breathe and just feel the joy of that moment for all that you are accomplishing?
I’m thinking probably not, or at least not very often. Which leads to the next question, “Why?” This one-word question, by the way, is one of my favorites. For me, it’s generally a combination of thinking that I need to meet somebody else’s perceived expectation of me AND the fear that THIS will be THE thing that will bring me down if I don’t do it perfectly.
It won’t bring you down, I promise. No matter whether you learn it quickly and perfectly, or slowly with lots of mistakes. You will learn and you will grow, no matter what. The only thing that has the capacity to bring you down and cause you to give up on your goals is a lack of joy and purpose.
Babies and little kids know joy. They know purpose. They just know things that we have forgotten. Tell a baby that they can’t crawl or walk and see what happens. They crawl, walk and then they run. You can’t stop them! There’s no shame, there’s no guilt, there’s no “not good enough.” Maybe they don’t love every moment of their learning curve, but they embrace it all.
We’re all continually learning in different ways throughout life. When you’re taking on something new, find your “why.” This makes it easier to hold onto the initial joy as you’re progressing through the tougher stages of learning. Make sure you are gentle with yourself. Take the time to stop and steady yourself. It’s okay to crawl until you can get back up again. Always clap for yourself. Be your own biggest fan.