The Value of Experience
This week has been really interesting and insightful -- and it's only Tuesday!
Some who follow my Facebook posts will recognize this meme that was shared over the weekend. I don't know where it came from or who to attribute it to, so hopefully this doesn't get pulled for copyright issues...
Anywho, it started me thinking about the idea of Experience. There are a number of ways we can define Experience. Merriam-Webster provide the following definitions of Experience:
I think our own mindset and mental state often directs which definition or view point we focus on. Most often when you hear the word Experience, the context of work pops up -- 'does that person have enough experience to be able to do the job.' Some may immediately jump to an image of traveling and 'experiencing different cultures, food, landscapes, etc.'
Regardless of the definition, one thing is certain -- Experience is one hell of a teacher.
Lately I've been realizing that experience has a variety of contexts, all of which can be extremely useful if you recognize them and begin to utilize them. If you've gotten this far and you're still down to experience my pondering, let's dive in! (yeah, you see what I did there...)
1. Experience of Self
Our own experiences in life help to shape our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and actions. Our experiences come from the daily interactions with our world and the people around us. It comes from engaging with our family members, neighborhoods, schools, friends, sports, activities...you name it. Thanks to technology, we now even have exposure to interactions on a global level.
Have you ever had the experiences of being asked what you want to do for a career, and your initial thought was 'I don't know'. Or, perhaps it as 'Well, I want to do XYZ, but that will never happen because (insert limiting self belief here...').
Maybe you do know what you want to do but either you don't know how to do it, or you don't realize you have everything you need already. Yep - we're going there. You see, Experience of Self doesn't just refer to you going through life having various experiences. Sure, having the experiences and acquiring knowledge along the way certainly are a large part, as that is what lays the foundation. But what I'm talking about is being aware of and recognizing the power that is inherently in us because we have gained that knowledge and we've had those experiences. If you're anything like me, you are driven to constantly learn and progress to fill in the gaps on the things that you don't know. Sometimes though, you forget or lose confidence in all the things you already know and do so well.
2. Experience of Others
Wait, you just said Lesson #1 was about looking within to gain your answers and direction?
Yep. I did. And you need to own that to have a healthy relationship with this next part, which is leverage the experience & expertise of others. Like I said above, there certainly will be things that you don't know how to do. Maybe they are things you haven't learned how to do or exist in industries outside your own.
Here's an example for me. As a physical therapist & athletic trainer, I can tell you without a doubt that the amount of education we receive related to business is minimal. At least mine was. I can't say the short business course we had as part of one semester prepared me to go out into the world and start my own practice. Chiropractic does this VERY well, and it shows in the public sector. DPT programs focus on building good clinicians, clinicians who are prepared to go work for someone else and keeps the machine running, same as it ever was -- and that opens a door to a tangent for anther time!
So what do you do? You seek out people who have done what you are doing and have been successful. You find people with the expertise in that specific area and leverage their knowledge instead of trying to learn it all yourself. This can be a dangerous place, as I have found myself in that position more than once.
Lesson #2: Don't reinvent the wheel. The experience of others can be a valuable resource. Find yourself a good mentor. Find yourself a good coach. This is where the magic will happen.
3. Novice to Expert
The concept of Novice to Expert was something I was exposed to many years ago by one of my former mentors. While I am sure there are a few different models by now, what we were teaching was the Dryfus & Dryus model. I won't go into all the details of their model and the various stages of progression, but what still resonates with me is the idea that:
a) You do progress through the various stages. Eventually with time, experience, and accumulation of knowledge, you become the expert.
b) You don't start as an expert. Generally speaking, any time you start a new activity or task, you are once again in the seat of the Novice. For some, this is learning another language, or learning a 3rd after becoming fluent in a 2nd. For others it is a recreational skill like learning to crochet or dance. For me currently, it is submission wrestling -- and oh am I definitely the novice!
Lesson #3: You will always go back to Novice when learning something new, and that's normal. With more EXPERIENCE, you will move through the ranks to become the Expert. And once you do become the Expert in something -- OWN IT! Don't forget what you have done, the knowledge and experiences that you have acquired.
Experience a concept & topic we could go on and on about. So to keep this short, here are a few thoughts to leave you with:
Experience is by far the greatest teacher. We should all seek out new experiences on a regular basis. We should foster a sense if curiosity and a spirit of seeking new experiences in our children. We should aim to use our finances to acquire experiences over material things - the value of the experiences will always trump that of the 'thing.' Experience is what moves you through the ranks to expert. In medicine, I'm not looking for the surgeon who's doing whatever procedure my family member needs for the first time since finishing Residency. Similarly, I am not looking to rehab with the new-grad DPT or train with the 'newly certified this weekend' trainer. I'm sure I'll catch hell of that last bit, but that's just me being honest. I am grateful to all of the 'Firsts' in my career -- the first patients, the first Pilates clients, the first Athletes...everyone has to start somewhere -- and now you refer back to #2 & #3 to see how that happens!
~ K. Bosch
Athletes Physiotherapy - Las Vegas, NV
Thank you for stopping by the Athletes Physiotherapy Blog! Kristopher Bosch founded Athletes Physiotherapy in Las Vegas, NV. He is a Father, physical therapist, athletic trainer, pilates teacher, & perpetual student!
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