One of the greatest challenges we face in our lives is to be honest with ourselves, especially when it is a difficult truth we must accept. It is difficult to acknowledge our faults, flaws and things we want to change. As I spent a great deal of time reflecting on what has happened thus far in my grad assistantship role, I recognize that there are things I’ve done somethings well and there are mistakes that I’ve made, which I’ve had to correct. There were times when I felt confident in my ability to lead and other times when I felt like the most incompetent person in the room. I constantly feel a need to self-assess or internally evaluate my performance and, more often than not, I start and end my reflection with a great deal of frustration for not being where I think I should be at a particular point in time.
Recently, I was inspired by my mentor and supervisor to try painting to stimulate creativity and to learn a new skill. It has been a challenging and humbling process. (Kudos to all the artists in the world who create beautiful, masterful works.) I immediately recognized my inability to blend colors, paint smoothly, write letters, and manifest my vision into reality. It was frustrating, but one day I had a realization; I had to accept that I was awful at painting. I let go of the idea that I should be a decent artist right away, especially without any form of training whatsoever. I started enjoying painting after I accepted my inability to produce the outcome I desired. I do not posses the skill needed to achieve the outcome and I don’t have the experience to create what I want through painting. However, I do posses the ability to learn, practice, and improve. It takes time and experience to cultivate new skills, learn and retain new ideas, and to become more effective at anything.
Self-Assessment and honesty with self is truly important for growth and development. People are more likely to understand and endure the frustration of failure and the learning journey by acknowledging and accepting where they are and envisioning where they want to go. Discipline, humility, consistency, and honesty with self ultimately lead to a more productive learning experience.