You are entering the “Learning Zone.” What? What is the Learning Zone? You are all familiar with it—well at least its cousin the Comfort Zone. The phrase “out of your Comfort Zone” refers to when we are no longer “comfortable” with our situation. Once you are out of the Comfort Zone, you have entered the “Learning Zone”.
I have been plunged into the Learning Zone often, and obviously, I do my best learning and growth when I am in the Zone, but then, why do I resist it? Don’t I want to learn? When asked the logical question so bluntly, my answer is “of course I want to learn, but can we do it without the growing pains?” Can you just hear the laughter? Yep, it is true to do any true learning, we must enter the Learning Zone and handle our discomfort with a smile, with grace, and with humility. Ah and therein lays the challenge: handling these Learning Zone moments with any of these attributes.
I have daily Learning Zone moments: working with tantrums and behaviors, figuring out the schedule for the week with all the demands on the family, and the famous “what are we going to have for dinner” (no short order when there are 10 members in the family who have so many different eating challenges). Sometimes I yell during the tantrums, I am LATE in picking up someone, and I throw in the towel at the sulking and pouting on what was served for dinner. Can you hear my SCREAM?? Has anyone else reached these moments during the everyday? Of course! Following one of these “failed” moments, I seem to enter the Learning Zone because I end up saying a pray, asking for forgiveness of others, and working together with the family to improve the communication on what was going to be expected for dinner next time.—Learning Zone!
I also have Learning Zones that seem to be in categories of my life: work, spiritual, communication, and so forth. These Learning Zones seem to last a lot longer, take longer to learn from, or seem to never really end. When I look at the lessons I have learned from these categories, they took and still take a longer amount of time to learn from. These “longer” learning moments have great 20/20 hindsight mapping. I can look back through this time and see the path that I took and how I learned from it. I love looking back and seeing this map! Looking back shows me the accomplishments that I learned, shows me the way I learn, and shows me what I can immediately do when the next Learning Zone happens.
The choices we make while in Learning Zones are the opportunities to learn, and I must admit, because of my pride (anger, hurt, jealousy, revenge, or ignorance) I seem to make the worst choice ever—making the emotional reaction choice of exhaustion. I know as soon as I have done this too. It feels like I have been in some sort of competition in which the audience can see the whole maze I am fighting my way through, and when I make one of these “reactive choices” the audience seems to gasp! In that “gasp” from the audience, I immediately know I have done the wrong thing. That feeling is the worst because I feel that it reflects on my character. Again another big, UG, sigh…moment—I know I will gain more time to “redo” and try again. But, UG! That is the frustrating part of it! However, as I go through these times, I know that I will come back to a similar experience and then (if I learned anything) make the better choice.
The Learning Zone, it is the right place to be in if we want growth. I just need to recognize when I am in this Zone and be patient and forgiving with myself. Enjoy learning everyone!