Embrace the discomfort
I love @brenebrown's idea of "normalizing discomfort" in schools and in the workplace (where we get schooled as adults).
Often, I think schools do a disservice to students who are "naturally" good at a subject. It stunts their growth and they often enter the later grades, college, or the work place, not knowing how to get good at something they are no longer "naturally" good at.
"At first I was terrified by the idea that if education is going to be transformative, it's going to be uncomfortable, and unpredictable. Now as I begin my fifteenth year of teaching at the University of Houston, I always tell my students "If you're comfortable, I'm not teaching and you're not learning. It's going to get uncomfortable in here and that's okay. It's normal and it's part of the process."
The simple and honest process of letting people know that discomfort is normal, it's going to happen, why it happens, and why it's important reduces anxiety, fear and shame...
... the big challenge for us as leaders is getting our heads and hearts around the fact that we need to cultivate the courage to be uncomfortable and to teach the people around us to accept discomfort as part of growth" - a friend of mine
Have you read anything or seen a TED talk with Brene Brown?
Seriously, this woman finds all the buttons and all the hallelujah verses in human nature. Sometimes you have to stop and say,
"Whoa, did I do an interview with her without knowing? Because she is seriously talking about me!"
It is truly a difficult and sudden switch to hit that wall where innate ability is not enough; when no one told you that "stretching is required" or "it's ok not to know".
When your entire educational career you get lauded for the things that come easy to you. It's easy to get high on that supply and then feel lost when you challenge yourself but find you don't quite have the tools to maintain that same confidence to navigate the new territory.
Not many people praise the "tryer". In so many ways, the message is communicated and reinforced that only the winner counts. Only the first matters. Relative gain is an excuse for losers to comfort themselves.
There is real shame in trying new things and not achieving ultimate success. It is the mentally sturdy and focussed that survive. And often the people who got the most practice and who most strengthened that steadiness muscle, are the people who were never the naturals, but the ones that had to really work at it.
I will never forget, Karate class in high school.
I wanted to and participate so badly. But for one reason or another, I couldn't. So, I watched from outside and practiced the katas, and tumbles when I got home.
There was one kid who was terrible! He couldn't even form a fist right. So poorly coordinated was he. But he was determined to be a master.
There was no end of ridicule for him, because if you're not a natural- just give up, don't even bother to try. Right? But, he kept at it, quietly and continuously. Today, he is a degreed black belt. And quite sturdy. A far cry from the uncoordinated boy he used to be.
If you stick through the discomfort, you can get past the worst, hit your stride and win.
But the trick is to get comfortable with the discomfort. You aren't growing if it doesn't hurt a little. Just don't forget to stretch. ;)