The Stages of Learning (They can be painful)

When I introduce myself at a business meeting, I say, “I’m a parenting coach. I help moms who lose their temper. I used to lose my temper and I got help. Now I help others.”

When people meet me, sometimes it’s a painful moment. It’s painful because I teach them something new: I teach them that they don’t have to lose their temper (and that’s something they didn’t know before we met).

The first stage of learning is: You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s an easy place to be. You do things a certain way and it’s fine because that’s all you know.

The second stage of learning is: You know what you don’t know (and it bothers you). This is the most painful stage to be in. You realize there’s a different (and better) way to do things, and you haven’t learned how to do it… yet.

The second stage is also painful because you realize that you’ve been doing it the old way all along. Like, perhaps your a mom who’s lost her temper with her kids for the last 10 years. That’s a long time. It can be painful to look back.

And here’s what I say: You did the best you could. You don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s ok. (Try to be loving towards yourself.)

And now that you know better, you can learn to do better. And that takes time.

The third stage of learning is: You know how to do it and it takes work. During this stage, you may fall back into your old habits from time to time. But you’ll become better and better at your new skill.

The fourth stage of learning is: You know how to do it and you don’t have to think about it anymore — you do it naturally.

At stage four, you’ve learned how to be a different kind of parent. What does that look like? Let me paint a picture for you: You have the patience and control you’ve always wanted. Your children are respectful and obedient without threatening them. You’re a model for the kind of life you’d like your children to lead when they become adults.

If you’re a yeller and you want to stop yelling (and the idea is new to you), that’s the stage where your yelling starts to bother you. It can feel painful, but it’s also a necessary part of learning. It’s actually a good thing that it bothers you. The fact that it bothers you is motivation to change. So, breathe. Be gentle on yourself.

Yes, you don’t know how to stop yelling, yet. This will take time and practice (and help) and you can do it one step at a time.

And yes, you may have been hurtful, yelling in the past. Be gentle on your past self too. You didn’t know what you didn’t know. You did the best you could.

Would you like to take the next step? Say this out loud, “I’m a yeller and I want to stop yelling.” Congratulations. You have begun.

Now, find your mentors who will teach you and guide you along the way. I can be one of them. Subscribe to my newsletter, click here.

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