One of the things I do to level up my skills when I feel that I’m getting:
Is to create little mini challenges for myself. They don’t have to be HUGE enough to have me give up half way through them but not too easy that they’re not exciting or enticing enough for me to stick with them to see the outcome.
Many of you would have seen an example of one of my levelling up project in recent times where, over a period of 30 days, I would have to speak in French (a language I’m learning) for a minute and share that on Twitter. Actually, that mini challenge was a little bit difficult for me because it meant I had to plan, prepare and practice what I was going to say every day so it meant that I had to devote time to each challenge. It wasn’t a matter of turning on the camera and speaking into it.
Also, another mental challenge is that I have to see it through the entire 30 days as I had made my learning public. There were days where it was the LAST thing I wanted to do and I had to battle with my own thoughts such as:
- “What am I doing this for?”
- “Why do people even care about my challenge?”
- “This comes across as so egotistical and self-centred and oh look at me!”
So there were days where I really struggled to present to camera and speak French but I did it. The thought of piking out and leaving the challenge incomplete was the motivator for me and I just had to suck up these feelings and power through them knowing that it will be great once it’s done.
A big thank you to my good friend Megan Strant who got into contact with me for the last day and we went on a long walk to St Kilda where I completed the last day of the challenge and we enjoyed a lovely coffee and cake. Never underestimate the power of a friend who can help you get to the end.
However, what happens if you don’t want to do this publicly and openly like I did?
Not to worry. It’s all okay. You don’t need to do this at all – but you do need to get out of your comfort zone and make a pact with yourself that despite what happens, you will not give up.
Do something small.
A recent example was with my knitting.
I would say I’m an intermediate knitter. I’m intermediate in a lot of things simply because I have way too many interests and I don’t spend my entire life devoted to the pursuit of one skill or one endeavour. I like to dabble in a whole lot of things but I do find some things that have stuck with me over the years. Knitting is one.
However, I have noticed that at times, I get into a knitting rut. Knitting yet another beanie, yet another shawl, yet another scarf. It gets a tad boring.
I also noticed that when I’m knitting with my stash (that’s left over yarn for novices), it’s not as exciting as say having bought the yarn from a shop for the specific purpose and project in mind. Therefore I have noticed that I need to have a project from beginning to end in mind and make it entirely into an experience.
For example, I wanted to find a short cardigan to wear with my ultra flare jeans so I searched on Ravelry (a knitters community) and found a pattern. Then I have to buy the pattern and then go for a little trip to a yarn store (my fave) to select the right yarn for the pattern; chat with the ladies in the store; show them my pattern; exclaim and listen to the ‘Ohhs” and “ahhs”; talk about the pattern and how to knit it; buy the yarn; come home and select the right Netflix series that I will be watching while casting on and start…
It’s the entire experience that I’m after.
Somehow scrounging through left over yarn to pull together and make the project hasn’t got the same enticement.
So find what entices you – the WAY in which will MOTIVATE you to stick with the skill and go with that.
However, if you’ve reached the stage of complacency, comfort or stagnancy, you need to level up a bit.
In this case, look at your project and think:
- How can I do one element of this differently from the template or pattern that it suggests?
- What’s one element in this project that I haven’t done before?
- How can I customise this project so that it suits my needs?
Doing small, minor changes to how you always do your project means that you’re keeping your brain active and stopping reverting to the same thing you’ve always been doing – and it keeps it interesting enough so that you can stick with it as well as curious enough to see what the final outcome will turn out like.
Most of all, what you get in the end is something that even though you may have followed a pattern or a template of what someone has made before, somehow you’ve also made it your own too so it gives you a level of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Looking at the projects you have on the go (whether they’re work or leisure – it doesn’t matter), how can you level them up and in the process, build upon and improve your skills?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
(Recently I vlogged about this where I show a couple of knitting projects I have finished or in the process of doing and how they have challenged me).