I am constantly taking on new classes, courses, exercise routines, philosophies and filling my life with new and engaging ideas, information, and movements!
When I finally had a moment to sit down it made me think about a riding lesson I had taken with an instructor who had been doing this for awhile. She was extremely supportive, open minded, and understanding of meeting me where I was at. She didn't shame me for not knowing things, or make me feel like I should know it all.
I wish I could say the same about all my past teachers!
If you have ever been publicly humiliated in a class I feel for you! I think sometimes when someone has been teaching the same thing for so many years and not experienced being the learner, it can make the teacher blind to the discomfort of learning something new. They are no longer sympathetic to their learner because they don't remember what it feels like to try something new. Especially if that something new involves physically rearranging a learned behavior pattern of yours.
It can look, feel, and be extremely awkward!
And yet this is where learning starts, and when you have a supportive environment it motivates you to keep trying, and allows you to focus on what you are doing.
Rather than focusing on the watchful eyes all around you, or the feeling of being judged or criticized, and that at any moment you might be yelled at!
Maybe there are people out there who do well in that type of environment, but being motivated by fear or fear of judgement just don't jive well with me. I would prefer to be motivated by a genuine desire to learn, improve, and understand and enjoy the process of learning.
This really resonates with me in my role as a trainer/ teacher/ instructor of animals. If I forget that learning takes time, or expect my dog to know it all before he understands what I am asking, I can and should expect a lot of frustration!
He is my learner, and I need to sympathize with his situation and meet him where he is at. I need to answer his questions with compassion, and give him as much time as he needs. We should also do this with ourselves.
Too often I feel we put too many expectations on our dogs (and ourselves) to know everything the second we introduce a new idea. We think our dogs are just "trying to get away with something" rather than understanding there may be a hole in our training approach that is confusing our dog!
Or sometimes I hear people say their dog or their horse is stupid. I find this statement pretty infuriating... In my opinion, no one is stupid they are just not being met at their level and taught in a way that is understandable for them. However, the second we can admit that our teaching or training style is not working, it puts the responsibility back on us and then we wonder,
"Wait am I the stupid one?"
I have certainly asked myself this before, and it's a thought I typically shut down right at it's root. I am a learner to, and if something new in training comes up for me I reach out to others for help, and make sure I am surrounded by people who understand that sometimes learning something new takes time!
Too often we personalize our results and make them about who we are, when our results are just trying to guide us in a different direction when things don't work out. We can learn a lot when things don't work out!
So if you are feeling unmotivated, stuck, or like a bad trainer or teacher, be understanding of yourself, try not to judge yourself, and give yourself the resources you need so that you can learn the lesson the situation is trying to teach you.
Learning something new is fun, engaging, but also inherently stressful and takes up a lot of brain space! We need to respect the time it takes to process new ideas for ourselves, others, and especially our animals who don't even speak our language!