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Is it really too late to learn new skills?

career mindset Sep 09, 2022

My niece is learning to walk! It’s so much fun to watch her push herself up, stumble around, and take a few steps before falling back down again. She laughs and giggles almost every time. I love watching her take joy in learning something new. 

As a former school social worker, I've noticed that it’s only when children get older that they might start associating displeasure with trying something new — perhaps they don't relate to their studies, they aren't "good" at an activity so they stop pursuing it, or an incident shifts their sense of self-confidence.

I've worked with clients who have not developed their skills in years because of the narratives that have stayed with them.

The negative association they have with trying or learning something new is partnered with statements like “I just have too much stuff going on”, “maybe when I was younger but now it’s too late”, and “I don’t want to try something just to fail”. Many of them get into a routine of their day to day and learning, growth, and professional development get pushed to the side. While they might feel embarrassed by this, it's quite common. 

When my clients realize that they have to learn a new skill set or pursue a certification to make the career change they want, they might feel resistance, even fear, in pursuing it. 

Like my niece, my clients might be a little scared to take the first step, but once they do it, pursuing new skills becomes more fun and engaging as they get to relearn what brings them joy and what doesn’t — both of which have value in determining one's career direction.

Learning and growth are second nature to us. Sometimes we have to reconnect with it. 

This is the reason my first homework assignment is to have my clients pursue some type of playful activity they have been wanting to try or haven't done in a while- it's the idea of stretching that muscle of trying something new and making learning and change fun again. The more we stretch that muscle, the easier it is to apply learning, change, and growth to other settings in life. 

If this post is resonating with you, check out the first lesson of my book, The Inner Compass Process: Play Your Way to (Career Clarity) here. When you sign up, the first email will provide a fun homework assignment to help you use play to make learning fun again. It will also help you gain insights as to career shifts you can make to experience more career satisfaction based on the way you like to play.

You've got this! 


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