On Learning Curve and Kindness

21 November 2015 writing notes to myself in the corner of the page

21 November 2015 writing notes to myself in the corner of the page

” A messy start is simply a messy start not a failure”  

Be kind to yourself as you learn something new.  That was my mantra today.  Be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself. I started a new bullet journal after weeks of researching planners and systems.  It was a rough start.  New things always are.

Especially when we’re not great at what we’re activating.  I mean, it’s hard enough to incorporate something new when you have mastery.  Even though I had some parenting skills under my belt, the truth is when Baby #3 was born, our world shifted and I had to learn new things.

Adding new components to a system AND acquiring new skills simultaneously is hard.  Extra Hard.  That matters a ton and it doesn’t matter at all.  In other words,  we can recognize and validate the difficulty level, but it mustn’t keep us from forward motion.

In teaching art and journal keeping over the last two decades, I’ve walked hundreds of people through the process of learning something new.  Hundreds.  I have seen two groups of people when it comes to dealing with learning curve:

  1. Those who move through the messy parts of learning and adjust as they go.  These people shake their fist or tuck their head down or don’t talk or they say all the words, and at the same time, THEY DO SOMETHING.  They start moving and figure it out mess and all.  Their motto is Steven Pressfield’s:  “Start before you’re ready.”
  2. Those who engage in complex methodologies to look good as they learn.  These strategies include:  never starting, keeping their hands super clean, erasing over and over and making complex plans.  They want things
[spaces, plans, process, skills and even people] to be perfect.

Clearly there’s more beneath the surface of each approach.  These strategies exist not only in art they show up in life.   At the end of the day,  we must remember that every new acquisition of skill and territory requires both the head and the heart.  It’s not enough to know what skill you want.  You also have to be willing to pay the full price.  Here’s the deal:

  • Learning is messy.
  • Other people are probably watching.
  • Mistakes cost time and money.

If you are wrestling with anything on that list, it’s a matter of the heart.  I know what I wrestle with; that’s why I’ve had this quote up in my studio for years:

There will be many times when we won’t look good to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do.  It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time.  

~ Julia Cameron

And this one:

“The shortest answer is doing the thing.”

~ Ernest Hemingway


12 November 2015 spent the day with some fabulous humans at the studio talking superhero capes and breadcrumb trails through the dark woods. Oh, and we moved some paint and found some words. #artandfaith #journalasaspiritualpractice #soultending #centerforglobalaction

I hope you’re doing something new.  Life is rich when we shift and explore.

I hope you’re being kind to yourself as you learn.  Exhort yourself.  Resource yourself well.

And most of all, I hope you’re doing The Thing that you were born to do.


BE in your life,


By |2016-10-19T14:20:30+00:00November 22nd, 2015|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

About the Author:

I create containers for words and paint and I fill them. I craft safe, sacred spaces for people to wrestle, create, heal and shout from the mountain tops.   And I teach people to do all of these things for themselves.