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Knot Now

June 23, 2017

Knot Now:  Overcoming Can’t

by Jeanine Izzo

It’s easy to get frustrated with learning something new.  Sometimes, this leads to avoidance or active resistance.  When I was a little girl, my Grandpa (who was in the Navy) tried to teach me how to tie knots.  He made it look easy and impossible at the same time.  After a few unsuccessful tries, I gave up.

Fast forward to adulthood.  You might recall, I recently learned how to sail.  During the pre on-water studying, I skipped over all the sections that entailed knots.  Early on during the on-water portion, I mentioned my block on knots to my instructor, Richie, and told him I was working on knocking it down.  As we learned the knots one by one, I could tie them, yet I was not retaining anything.  In the morning, Richie would say “Tie a x knot now.”  Me, looking at the line/rope in my hand willing it to move properly, feeling the defeat and embarrassment move up into my throat and face, I looked up and said “I got nothing.”

Keep in mind, my goal was to become a skilled sailor and a certified captain and before I could sit for the third test I had to demonstrate my knot tying aptitude.  More than that requirement, I was determined to move past this long-standing barrier.

Somehow, thankfully, I got Richie to feel for my plight.  He sat with me as he slowed down his teaching style for me and I practiced over and over and over and over and over again.  After I tied a few of the same knot properly, he said “Really good, now tie 20 more.”  Plus or minus 20 ties of each knot multiplied by 8 different types combined with the need and want to know their names and their function…I was there for a while.  Along the way, I could feel my confidence building and my mind barrier relinquishing.  That night as I lay in the cabin with an ocean breeze coming through the hatch…my mind was still working “right over left, left over right (square knot).  Make a circle, find the tree, the rabbit comes out of the hole, around the tree and back into the hole (bow line knot), etc.”  Success.

While you may not need to know how to tie knots, there is some equivalent behavior that would benefit you and others.  The rub is that you have to make yourself consciously uncomfortable, even vulnerable (recall my defeat and embarrassment mentioned above), as you practice to increase your ability in new areas.  Note:  These nausea inducing feelings are much more apparent to you than to anyone else (who might not notice at all).

Knocking down barriers is an imperfect process. We’ve all had times where we learned or attempted to utilize a new behavior and it just wasn’t connecting.  How we treat ourselves and others going through this process helps determine whether we stay stuck or progress forward.

Forward Moving Tips:   

When you are struggling to learn something new.

  1. Don’t allow past/current thoughts prevent you from experimenting.
  2. Become aware of the thoughts that may be preventing your progress.
  3. Acknowledge your thoughts rather than wish them away.
  4. Begin to shift your inner dialogue from can’t to can.  i.e. “I can’t tie knots…I want to tie knots…I will tie knots…I can tie knots.”
  5. Practice the desired behavior.
  6. Notice your behavior/skills/results improving!

There are times when it seems easier to continue with behavior that we know especially when it’s not obviously damaging.  Heck, it may even be moderately effective, yet the draw of enhanced results and discovering what we are really capable of with some intent and practice is enticing, right?  Instead of fighting progress with “Not now,” encourage it with “Knot now!”

For assistance with helping yourself or someone else move from can’t to can…Contact Viage Partners today.

© Viage Partners 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Viage Partners with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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