I have been a student of the art and science of coaching, leadership and human potential for some time. And while I am by no means an expert, the practice of learning and exploring coaching is now a habit rather than a to-do. This means that every day I’m reading, writing, thinking and/or meditating. All of these activities have become second nature to me and I use them to be really present for my clients.
I have been so focused on being a student of coaching, and recently realized that I hadn’t taken on anything new in a while: I had lost the novelty of learning for learning’s sake. Not too long ago, I had a fleeting idea to become a piano student. Partly on a whim and partly from the drive to learn something new, I signed both my boys and myself up for lessons. This is not because I have some great hidden musical talent, or that we have signs that this family has a musical interest (beyond our dance parties…which are awesome). To the contrary, I just wanted more space to play, be creative and master something completely new.
I love this quote by Roy Bennett: “to learn something new, you need to try new things and not be afraid to be wrong.” In becoming a student, I combined my need for personal creative expression and my belief that positive modeling is the best way to inspire others (in this case, my kids) to learn and grow.
We’ve been taking lessons for two months now. It is hard. It is not yet a habit. And it is also rewarding:
This morning my boys were sitting next to each other and the older one was helping the younger one hear the difference between playing the notes short and choppy (staccato) and playing smooth and connected (legato). I caught a glimpse of brief, yet meaningful sibling bonding.
On Sunday, while I was enjoying my morning coffee, I plugged in my headphones and happily went through my beginner scales, not worrying about anything else that needed to be done. For just a little while, I was working on mastering something totally new.
Piano might someday be a habit for one or all of us. Or, this might just be a happy and creative interlude between other life projects. I don’t know yet and that’s okay. For now, I’m just enjoying the gift of being a student, watching my kids learn something new and being open to the feelings of vulnerability and creativity that come with being a beginner.
What is something you have wanted to try? Is there something you’ve wanted to learn or master? What is one new way you could be a student in your life?
If the idea of being a student sparked something in you, drop me a note and tell me about it.
“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.”
– Vernon Howard