It has been a while since I have rambled on about challenging yourself in all aspects of your life, including fiber arts. It is something I support fully and even if you end up with a big ball of yarn vomit messiness – it was worth it. Granted, in that situation, ask me after I have taken care of the mess. I’m not really “verbally presentable” when detangling yarn. In fact, I think I may qualify more as “pirate” or “sailor mouth” during those moments.
Ah – let the rambles begin *laughs*
I have recently been promoted with another job change. It has been a big year for me with several job changes, all moving upwards in the way of the corporate ladder. I moved from being a project manager to a change manager and now I’m back to being a project manager only with a promotion to senior level. All very exciting.
But between you and me, sometimes I don’t know what the heck I’m supposed to be doing. I know what it took to be a successful project manager and I knew what it took to be a successful change manager… but being promoted to a senior level indicates that there is “something else” – something that separates the mice from the men. And truthfully, I wasn’t even sure if I knew what it was or even how to find out. But – with this promotion I got an ace in the hole… my new boss.
She is phenomenal. I cannot say that enough – She is a program director. She has come from a history of project management and always seems know exactly what should be said and when it should be said and the appropriate audience. I know that’s where I need to go. Its no different, to me, than knowing how to knit and purl but not knowing how to go from making a simple scarf to an elaborate lace wrap. Or perhaps adventuring into double knitting or some other whack-a-doodle fiber technique.
Hang in there.. I think I’m going somewhere with this *laughs*
About a week ago, I had a moment that ended up being a great moment. It gave me that opportunity to just ask my new boss what is up with the split – what separates me from where I was to what I am now. What should I be focusing on. How do I “stand out” – how in the world do I get better. And really – I think asking those questions just may be part of the key.
(disclaimer: heading off on tangent story #2)
My dad, as I’ve mentioned before, was disabled (I hate that word). He had no use of his right arm so that made him pretty much unemployable. Stupid, huh? So he came up with a means to make money via odd jobs. He also spent some time after the birth of my brother, again way before me, being a pool shark. Yup – you heard that right. He went to random pool halls, got people to feel like he was useless at the game because of his arm, and then take their money from them until it hurt. My family was poor and it was a way to make an income – a way to feed my brother. I don’t know how long he did it (it could have been a few short months) – but what this story is really telling you is that he kicked butt with pool.
Oh, and that meant my brother and I both grew up playing pool because it was a game he really enjoyed. I do ok with pool – I haven’t played in a while (any version of the game, although snooker was my favorite… or pea pool). My brother, on the other hand, was a natural at the game – very much like my dad. My brother is still amazing. I don’t know how frequently he plays anymore but I tell ya, readers, he’s a natural.
But what used to get my brother is that by the time he got to be my dad’s equal in skill, he stopped getting better. My dad told him “You have to challenge yourself. Play someone that’s even better than me.”
Now – I tell ya, looking back that was a funny thing for him to say because there really wasn’t anyone better than my dad available. Move to a big city and join tournaments… maybe. But in the local pool hall… no one. We all knew it.
But I remember those words … once you get to a certain level, “the only way to get better is to play someone better than you.” You have to lose again – you have to be frustrated again, and you have to be creative again. Thinking and calculating on how you can learn to do whatever you are doing better. You can always be better – its just a matter of finding something that can push you to the next level. Sure, you could just do things in a hit or miss fashion, but I’m guessing you are going to miss a lot more than hit.
So here at work – I see my new boss as that “something better” – she is going to help me see where I can improve and give me that guidance. It isn’t bad. I asked her last week and she gave me clear direction and feedback. I loved it. And I am getting better – its a slow process and I have a lot more to learn now that I have someone to learn from, but that’s ok. I’m willing to take on that challenge.
And, finally – to bring that back to fiber …
We all need it. If you knit the same ole thing over and over again – try something more difficult. Try a new technique or new item. You will probably stumble and most likely fall in your first attempts, but the beauty of the world and fiber arts is that it has expanded to the internet which makes us a global community. You can join groups on Ravelry or find a local group. You can spend hours on YouTube or bury your nose in a book at Barnes or the library. It is so easy to find that “something better” – that thing to help you expand your fiber art knowledge. And the beauty is, once you taste something new – even if you never go back and do it again, it will impact your current comfort level of knitting. You will get better at what you have always done as well as expand your knowledge to something greater.
So what is my current challenge? I don’t know. I just finished my first illusion knit piece – I charted it and knit it. It isn’t a wash cloth.. that’s for darn sure. I went “big” instead of going home *laughs* – its 31″x27″. I am very pleased with it and it really bothers me I can’t share it on my blog yet since its a Christmas present. After Christmas, dear readers, you’ll be flooded with photos and video of the creations on my end. I hope you share yours as well!