Jessica Soroky’s Guest Post #29: There Is No Shame in Continuous Learning

We go to school to study a specific subject like journalism, Human Resources, or a medical profession for four to twelve years.

As we move through the educational system, we are rewarded with degrees, titles, and letters to place after our name.

We are deemed “knowledgeable” or “experts” in our respective fields. Yet most industries don’t stay static, so even after the accolades are won, a common practice is to continue to seek education and continuous learning.

This past week I was reminded that my career choice is no different: I am on a learning and growth journey. My intention has never been to reach a destination and stop.

I was working with my mentor Scotty Bevill to on-board a few new interns. We had gotten to the point that it was time to share The Responsibility Process™. (It’s at the foundation of the entire company and one of the first things we share with anyone new.)

I have heard the presentation about the The Responsibility Process over 50 times and have presented it myself at least two dozen times by now. Every time I get the chance to hear it again, I get a rush of excitement because I still have an epiphany every time.

There is No Shame in Continuous Learning

As the presentation started, I settled in to watch, pen in hand and ready to take notes.

Scotty elegantly flowed through the stages of Denial, Lay Blame, and Justify. When he got to Shame, I leaned in closer. In past blog posts I’ve talked a lot about how I find myself in this mental state more than the other states.

He walked the interns through what shame sounds like. It often comes out in phrases like, “I lack something” or “I’m not good enough”.

For me, shame comes from feeling like I might be disappointing someone.

My perfectionism comes out and I beat myself up, convinced I could have done something better, faster, or made more money for the company.

He continued to ask the question he asks anyone he sees in a mental state of shame.
“How long is your sentence? How long are you going to do this to yourself? Because no one else is doing this to you but you.”

The first time I heard this, I could feel my eyes go wide and my stomach drop. Only I was making myself the victim. So I began to think about why I so often choose to do this.

What was I getting out of beating myself up?

I had heard this question about a hundred times, but in this moment it came as a welcome re-awareness event. A reminder of the power behind asking myself, “How long am I going to sentence myself to this self-inflicted punishment?”

Most of the time the exploitation of what I am doing to myself is enough to break myself out of the mental prison. The awareness tends to lead me to a desire to understand what causes my default to be set on shame.

There must be something I get out of it. I haven’t figured it out yet, and for today the re-awareness and the opportunity to catch it sooner is enough.

The opportunity to continuously learn, re-learn, and choose to positively change my life is absolutely addicting.

Jessica Soroky, CSM

Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

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Posted in Leadership on 03/26/2014 11:18 am
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