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Learning Differently

by Jean McGuire in My life

Everyone’s brain works differently and, as a result, we all learn differently. One good friend of mine has repeatedly tried to talk me into hiring a business/life coach. She just knows that if I would work with a trained coach they would share with me the same assignments she has received so much benefit from. I am resistant.

Another friend has repeatedly suggested that I watch various videos to learn new art techniques. Any time this friend decides to try something new with her art she spends hours researching how other people achieve the effect she wants. She is sure that if I would just watch some videos I would make the leaps forward that I want to achieve. I am resistant.

Each time one of my friends makes these suggestions, I look at them with what can only be described as a blank stare. Studying something before I jump in feels really foreign to me. I don’t think I’m arrogant enough to think I know it all, but apparently, I like to learn my lessons the hard way: by making my own mistakes.

I am especially prone to just jump in when I am painting. I get a vision or an idea that I want to put on canvas and my instinct is to just start painting. I have had to work hard to learn to sketch out my idea first. After that, I may or may not do a small study or two to see how the paint will work on the concept. I have even been taking portrait classes from Lacey Lewis, a gifted local portrait artist. I have learned a lot and am curious to see if I am able to take those lessons and apply them to my work. In other words, I’m trying.

On the personal and professional front, I tend to lean into my instincts and follow what my gut tells me. Don’t get me wrong, I have honed those instincts through my reading. I am very comfortable studying life lessons in books. I have a whole library of self-help books that have been extremely helpful in guiding me through some major growth in the last few years. These books have taught me a lot about looking at life through more lenses than I was given as I was growing up. But I am just not interested in one-on-one coaching sessions with someone. I prefer books that I can put down and cogitate on when I get uncomfortable.

I have also tried receiving life coaching. It moved me through some issues, but damn, it was painful. In a session I was asked to repeat the phrase “My voice is as important as anyone else’s.”  This simple phrase caused a complete and total breakdown. I sobbed for what seemed like hours, even though I’m sure it was only a fraction of that amount of time. I prefer my breakdowns in the comfort of my own home with no witnesses.

Ironically, I have a friend who wants to pay me to coach him through some professional issues. I am hesitant to do this. Even though I am constantly doling out free advice, I’m not sure how ethical it is to start charging for my gems of wisdom. There’s also something a little hypocritical about getting paid when I know I don’t always do a very good job of following my own amazing advice. I’m sure it has nothing to do with not valuing what I have to offer.

I am trying to move myself out of my own way. I am trying different ways of learning differently to move forward, but I don’t necessarily like it. It might have something to do with knowing deep down that what I am resisting is what I need most.

See, I just learned something.


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