Lessons from my bicycle: Part 1

Lessons from my bicycle: Part 1

Setting the scene

I have been secretly admiring people cycling on the promenade for a while now.  It looked like a whole lotta fun. When Shane surprised me with a bicycle for my birthday this year, I was on top of the world.  Turns out my admiration for a bicycle had not been so secretive after all. I’ve been admiring a certain bicycle out loud for a long time. I was so chuffed with my vintage-style, teal bicycle, with the basket in the front.

The vision was clear – I’d rock a dope outfit and my highlighter would be blinding people. The basket in the front was big enough for me to fit my phone so I could take the perfect selfie and store my cutesie little bag. Little – but big enough to store my wallet to pay for my coffee that would fit perfectly in my gorgeous selfie. IT was all perfect. Or so I thought.

She (still-to-be-named-bicycle) stood at home for a bit. One evening I decided to take her out for a spin down the road. I don’t think one can call my cycling a spin by any means but anyway, on we go. Now bear in mind it’s been about 30 years since I’ve cycled. Learning to balance again was something else. In many ways, it felt like I was learning to cycle all over again. It felt uncomfortable and I found my vision of the girl seamlessly cycling on the promenade, blinding everyone with her Fenty highlighter, a dream of the past.

I cycled up and down the road. Everything felt hard. Every time a car drove past me, my balance seemed to simply disappear and I seriously tensed up which only made me wobble more (damn!). And I was so fearful of the fact that I’d collide with a car or even worse, lose my balance and hurt myself. I also didn’t want to embarrass myself.

If we translate this to the world of learning, I know that “practice makes permanent”. I tell my kids this all the time. I know that the only way to get better at this, is to get back on the darn bicycle and practice some more until it feels seamless. I even teach the stages of competence and I tell people how moving from the stages of conscious incompetence to conscious competence takes work because even though that’s where the bulk of our learning happens, that’s also where people tend to give up as it’s hard work persisting until the new skill starts to feel second nature.

There is no app that I can download to help me get comfortable on a bicycle again. It requires practice followed by more practice. And I must accept that I’m going to wobble a fair bit before I’m comfortable. That’s ok. I need to be kind to myself and give myself the grace I need right now.

There are some valuable lessons to draw from this experience though. These are lessons that relate to the world of adult learning. I will explore what these lessons are in next week’s blog post.

How are you pushing out of your comfort zone right now? What is a new/different task that you have taken on? How is it challenging you? How are you growing as a result of this task?

Do share with us! We always love to hear from you.

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