Over the past three years, I’ve been lucky enough to have four different roles at my job. Each of these roles were brand new to me. As human beings, change does not always sit well with us. I’ve recognized the change that is hardest for me is being new.
In life we experience being new in many ways. For example, you may be starting a new job, buying or selling a house for the first time, or starting a new diet and exercise program. Through my experience, I’ve found a few helpful things to help me through being new and am happy to share them with you.
Recognize you are new.
Have you been to the grocery store and experienced being checked out by a cashier that doesn’t know the codes for the fruits or vegetables yet because they are new? They may take a long time looking up the code and say, “I’m new.” My reaction in that moment is empathy. I immediately understand and calm down. Chances are you have a similar reaction because we have all been new at one point or another.
When you are new at something you are not expected to know what to say or do. Recognize that you are not going to be an expert at first.
I’ve found that it helps to communicate to others that I’m new. You may have people training you or around you that are not new. They are not necessarily going to remember all the time that you are brand new. If you have the good grace of being someone who is accountable and accomplished, the people training or around you may have a harder time remembering that you’re new because you are good at many things already. It is okay to remind them that you’re new and still learning. Give yourself permission to have a learning curve.
Take time to honor your accomplishments.
I received advice a few months ago to write down my accomplishments every day. This has made a world of difference for me! I write down things like I woke up early this morning and took time for myself or I helped my team win new work for our company.
It is so easy for me to look for the next success or the next thing on my to do list. I’ve learned this is common. By writing down my accomplishments, I feel accomplished every day and am not seeking out the next thing I need to accomplish.
Do something else you’re good at and enjoy.
When you’re taking on something new in your life, it is important to keep things you’re good at and enjoy in your life too. I enjoy working out. Each time I’ve started a new role at work, I make sure to keep working out.
I’ve also found that it helps even more to begin something new at the same time in an area I’m comfortable with. For example, since I enjoy working out and am comfortable with it, I’ve incorporated new workouts at the same time as being in a new role at work. I started kick-boxing with one role and a new boot camp workout with another. This gives me confidence that carries over to my new role at work.
You may be good at and enjoy doing something else like working in the yard or cooking meals for family and friends. If these are things you enjoy and are good at, try planting something you’ve never planted before or take on a new recipe. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised with a boost of confidence that will help with the other thing you’re new at that isn’t as easy.
Celebrate and acknowledge the good things.
I’ll admit it is not always easy for me to celebrate small achievements. I’ve realized recently how much it helps to do this. When you’re learning something new, your achievements are not as big as you may expect. For example, when I find myself not having to look at my notes for a longer period of time because I’m recalling more material without my notes, I recognize this as an achievement! I write my achievements down as part of my accomplishments.
Along with my accomplishments, I write down what I’m grateful for. I’ve had gratitude jars and journals in the past. I’ve tried telling myself I’m going to write down three things I’m grateful for every night before I go to sleep. I have not been successful keeping these practices up. What I have found that works well for me is writing down my accomplishments, followed by the things I’m grateful for. Doing this helps me slow down and acknowledge all the good things in my life.
Read, listen, and/or watch things that inspire you.
Although we may feel alone on our journey at times, we are not alone. Chances are, someone is going through or has gone through what we’re experiencing. Through my latest experience of being new I read, “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. This book taught me some of the items I’m sharing in this post. It also exposed me to a community on social media that gives me a chance to share ideas and learn from others who are going through the same thing.
Hal Elrod has a podcast, called “Achieving Your Goals” that I find inspiring and helpful. Along with his podcast I listen to others such as “The Life Coach School” with Brooke Castillo and “The School of Greatness” with Lewis Howes. Books, podcasts, and shows like TEDTalk help me keep things in perspective and provide me with life-changing ideas to put into practice.
Know this is temporary and give yourself a break.
As my Mom says, “this too shall pass.” Our lives are full of change. One way to see this easily is in nature. I am looking outside my window right now at a beautiful summer day. I know, come fall, there will be rain in my Pacific Northwest environment. Just like the seasons, being new is temporary and will change again. You will not always be new.
Taking breaks is essential. When I’m new I find myself engrossed in putting a lot of time and effort into learning so that I can grow and learn quickly. While I see this as a positive, I also know I need space and breaks so that I can come back with a fresh and rested perspective. I encourage you to give yourself a break.
Surround yourself with good, positive people.
I’m grateful to have good, positive people in my life. I recognize that life is not always a sweet smelling rose garden and the people I have in my life are facing challenges just like me. What I honor and recognize in them is that they see the positive in the challenges and know that life will change again. I like people that lift me up and I aim to do the same for them.
If you have the good fortune of finding people who are new at the same thing, like you, I encourage you to befriend them. I’ve found that people who are new at the same thing as me are the greatest gift. We feel comfortable saying to each other, “I feel like I know nothing today.” We also exchange lessons we’ve learned and encourage one another.
Know when to move on.
In certain circumstances, not every new experience is a good fit. Give yourself a timeline to learn and be new. With some roles I’ve found that a few months is more than enough time, while with others the timeline is a year or more. I like to ask others who are in the same role how long it took them to be comfortable to help guide me when setting this timeline. When I reach that point and find that I’m spending more than half of my time still feeling like I’m brand new, it may be time to move on.
I know you excel at something and the world deserves to have you at your best. It’s okay to move on and find something that suits you and your skillset better.
What I’m sharing in this post is what has worked well for me. You may have a different life experience that has led you to other ideas. I honor your ideas too. We are all students in life and have opportunities to learn from one another. This is one thing I am forever grateful for.