I started a new job last week. And after a decade of living the non-traditional expat lifestyle, I can tell you the learning curve was steep. Not just the learning curve, but the mental energy stamina.
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve used my brain in this way.
Oh, I’ve learned new stuff while we lived overseas, sure. Languages, cultures, how to parallel park on a busy European street with cars flying by.
But this…its stretching me. Its awkward and humbling and it stings as the proverbial muscles in my brain stretch and torque in ways they haven’t had to for the largest portion of my working adult life.
And I’m loving it.
Oh sure, I’ve had to go to my boss, red-faced and sheepish to admit when I messed up. A lot. It’s not totally dissimilar to learning a new language. Just like when we moved to Vienna, I wanted to be able to have all the complex conversations by day 2, I found myself the second day on the job frustrated at myself that I couldn’t remember all the myriad responsibilities that accompany my job, and unable to independently navigate the databases I had never seen until the day before.
Sometimes we shy away from learning new things because it’s uncomfortable and hard and awkward. We wobble around like Bambi on his newborn legs, and hope no one notices when we slide, limbs akimbo, across the ice.
But the thing is, the struggle makes us so much stronger. So much more flexible. To quote the incomparable Tom Hanks from the movie A League of Their Own, “It’s the hard that makes it great.”
Though my feet are more firmly planted in my new role than they were last Monday, I know that I will still wobble and slip for awhile yet. But I’m really loving the feeling of accomplishment at the end of my day. The delicious mental exhaustion that reminds me that I’ve used my mind, struggled, and overcome.
So, I ask you dear reader, what are YOU going to learn new his week? This month? This year? Are you shaky-legging it in some new venture? Or are you sitting on the sidelines, worried about falling flat on your face? Let me encourage you, to get out there and wobble, Bambi-friends! I’ll be right there beside you.