Some people make it happen, some people watch it happen, and some people say “What happened?” – Anonymous -
Skill development is a key to success in any venture. Skills are sets of behaviors that must be learned. They are not acquired automatically, but take work to develop and use. Here’s how you can start.
- Becoming aware of the need and uses for the new skill.
- Identifying the behaviors involved in the new skill.
- Practicing the behaviors.
- Receiving feedback on how well you are performing the behaviors.
- Integrating the skill into your behavioral repertoire.
When trying a new skill, you may feel some anxiety. It isn’t comfortable to try out new behaviors. They don’t “fit” yet. To overcome this natural, normal sensation of nervousness, just relax! You’ll get a handle on the skill with continued practice.
Bennis, Warren; Schein, Edgar; Steele, Fred; & Berlew, David. (1968). Personal change through interpersonal relationships. In Interpersonal dynamics: Essays and readings on human interaction (pp. 333-369). Homewood, IL: Dorsey.
Authors discuss the three step process of developing a new skill first presented by the social psychologist Kurt Lewin.
Johnson, David W. (1972) Reaching out: Interpersonal effectiveness and self-actualization (p. 6). Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Author presents a five step process of developing a new skill.
Tubbs, Stewart L. (1984). A systems approach to small group interaction (2nd ed.) (pp. 334-337). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Author presents both Lewin’s and Johnson’s models for learning a new skill.
Schein, Edgar H. (n.d.). Kurt Lewin’s change theory in the field and in the classroom: Notes toward a model of managed learning. (PDF).
Schein is one of the authors of the Bennis et. al. book chapter listed above. He presents an excellent discussion of Lewin’s change theory.
Wanting to Feel Better
Everyone feels down sometimes, and some people feel extremely bad for long periods of time. When we feel bad, we look for something to help us feel better.
This can be something we do, or an affirmation from another person. Let me suggest that when you look for something to help you feel better, look for the littlest bit.
What is the littlest bit? Simply, it is something that helps you feel the smallest amount better that actually is better! Looking for the littlest bit keeps you from trying to find something that will make you feel a whole bunch better, like hitting the jackpot at a casino or going on a cruise. It is a common mistake to think that we need something big like that to make us feel better. We often find ourselves overlooking the small pleasures of life.
Here’s a list of littlest bits I wrote recently. (I left a few blank lines to fill in later.) What would you put on your list? Your list would look different from mine or anyone else’s, since each of us are unique individuals.
Think about all the little things you enjoy doing. Write out your list, then start putting some littlest bits into each of your days. Taken together, they will make a whole bunch of difference!
My List of Littlest Bits
- Calling a friend
- Helping someone hurting
- Eating an ice cream sandwich
- Taking a deep breath
- A cat sitting in my lap
- Getting a hug
- Hugging someone
- Telling a story
- Listening to a story
- Working on my computer
- Taking a shower
- Sleeping ten extra minutes
- The sun warming my face
- The wind rustling in leaves
- Hearing a clean joke
- Lying down on clean sheets
- Smelling dinner cooking
- Doing a good job on a task
- Getting a compliment
- Giving a compliment
- Getting dressed neatly
- Listening to music
- Getting a note or card
- Sending a note or card
- Learning something new
- Talking about old times
- Getting a milkshake or Frosty
- Taking a bubble bath
- Walking my dog
- Solving a problem
- Smelling a flower
- Holding a baby
- Remembering holding a baby
- Making a wish upon a star
- Listening to a Talking Book
- Drinking a Coke
- Getting a neck rub
- Making a plan
- Saying “I love you” to someone
- Making this list!
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Denis Waitley is quoted as saying “the reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”
Much of the thrust of my coaching is in assisting clients to define their goals, learn about them, and come to believe that they are achievable. You also need to develop specific plans of how you will accomplish each goal.
Writing your ideas down is essential to making them happen! Seeing your goals in black and white makes them come alive. Writing down your goals and a plan of action for achieving them creates a “road map” to guide you on your journey.
The following exercises can provide a tremendous boost toward success. Choose the statements you believe will help you achieve your dreams, then write them out. Your primary tool for creating these vital personal statements will be your own personal reflection. In addition, I will guide you through the process with open-ended questions, selected readings, inventories, and checklists.
- Your Passion Statement (a listing of your most prized interests and concerns).
- Your Personal Gratitude List (a list of everything you can think of that you are grateful for).
- Your Personal Creed (a statement of your core values).
- Your Personal Vision Statement (a clearly stated sketch of who you are and where you want to grow).
- Your Personal Mission Statement (detailing your purpose in life).
- Your Dependable Strengths Profile (a statement of the strengths you have demonstrated in your lifetime).
- Your Personal Preferences Profile (an outline of your preferences in important areas of your life).
- Your Personality Profile (an outline of your personality traits).
- Your Personal Development Plan (a detailed plan of how you will develop the skills you need to succeed, including long- and short-term goals, persons who will assist, resources that will be required, and a time for completion of each task and objective).
- A Force-field Analysis of the restraining and propelling forces in your life (the barriers to your success, and the positive influences around you).