[This is an Occupational Adventure Blast from the Past!]
I recently bought a bamboo flute. Of course, typical me, I had no clue how to play it.
What, you might ask, does a bamboo flute have to do with careers? Believe it or not, it's actually related to my earlier post about perfectionism being a big ol' boulder standing smack in the middle of the path to Occupational Adventure.
As I played the first tentative notes on my flute, it reminded me of when I first picked up the recorder a few months back. I bought a "how-to" book, but after a preliminary browsing I promptly lost interest in it.
Instead of getting fixated on "the right way to learn," I just started audiodoodling. I kept it next to me at my desk, or wherever I happened to be working, and developed a habit of just picking it up now and then, giving it a couple toots, and putting it down. At first it was just a note or two, then a measure or two. Eventually I got to the point where I would pick it up and play while my mind wandered elsewhere.
Bottom line, I just let it be play, and didn't hang any expectations on it. I wasn't out to master it - I just wanted it to be fun.
Eventually I opened the book and started to learn the notes and corresponding fingerings. By that time, my fingers had gotten familiar enough with playing that it was a lot easier to learn (though you can still definitely tell the difference when I go from my audiodoodles to reading music - it sounds like someone suddenly gave me a temporary lobotomy).
If I had approached it very rigidly from the beginning, the fact that I wasn't any good would have been frustrating, and then judgment would enter the picture, all of which would conspire to keep me from making progress.
Now back to the whole career thing (really, I do have a point here).
Learning to play the recorder, I took baby steps (you'll remember I'm a HUUUUUUGE fan of baby steps). I didn't get caught up in aiming at perfection. I just let it unfold.
The need to perform and excel right out of the starting gate is often an enormous stumbling block for people thinking about new careers. It's the classic wanting to sprint before even learning to crawl. The result is either that they don't take any steps at all - because they can't be the best right away - or they get down on themselves because they're not good enough, fast enough.
The career version of audiodoodling - careerdoodling - could be just the thing. Taking little steps. Keeping it fun. Keeping it interesting. Keeping it low pressure.
How about you? How could you start careerdoodling your way towards a new career? Reading a book? Taking a class? Meeting people? Maybe dipping your hand into a project to see what it's like?
I dare you to find a way this week, and do it!
Time for a career change? Launch it with...
The Occupational Adventure Guide:
A Travel Guide to the Career of Your Dreams
by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst