Thursday, May 21, 2015

Guest Post :: Life Long Learning :: I Give You The Verbs

So.  Annette from I Give You The Verbs.  She reckons she's excited to be Guest Posting here at One Small Life.  I reckon I'm excited to have her!  This lady is all kinds of awesome.  I met her through Blog With Pip (I know, I might stop talking about this group at some point.  Then again, probably not).  

Annette was one of the first faces I saw in the group.  And her presence was so welcoming, engaging, encouraging and witty.  She was always there with a positive outlook, a wise word of encouragement, and a good dose of common sense.  

Annette was also the first blogger I met in real life, which was weird for like a minute, until we got to solving all the worlds problems.  Then it was like we'd known each other for ages.

And girl can write.  At I Give You The Verbs Annette writes astutely, personally and often sagely about creativity, persistence, self-love and having a go.  But also so much more.

Annette pulls no punches.  She's the real deal.  She'll tell you what she thinks, she'll tell it like it is.  But if you think that means she's abrasive, aggressive or argumentative think again.  She's so full of love for her fellow bloggers she's much more uplifting than combative.

She sees herself as a Cheerleader, and that she is.  I've come to think of her as a Keeper of Perspective.  Because many a time, when I've been prone to over think something, or put more pressure on myself than I need to, she'll cut through that with one deft remark.  It's not rocket surgery, after all.

Anyway.  I'm going to stop banging on about Annette and let her words speak for themselves.  Here's a great post about how important (and fun!) it can be to learn new things.  Even while we might limit ourselves with fears and insecurities, take a step, a plunge and even a leap.  You'll find it so worthwhile.  

I only hope you have someone in your corner like Annette to spur you on and cheer you ahead.  She's ace and everyone should have one.  I'm sure feeling lucky that I do.


Guest Post :: Life Long Learning :: I Give You The Verbs

I have a few unfinished thoughts to share today, they’re not new ones, but they have definitely been on higher rotation over the past 18 months, as I've learned a new skill or seven (or seventy billion) and become a blogger. It is amazing how learning to write a blog has bled out into every area of my life and offered me opportunities to think things through from a new perspective, to remember old lessons, or to try to put myself in someone else's shoes more.

Thought 1: It is COOL to be a beginner.

It's okay not to know, to stuff up, to need to ask questions, to feel a bit wobbly about things. It's okay.

Here's something that might rock your world - think about someone you admire: a business guru, that amazing fashion designer, a great blogger, that scientist, doctor, super organised mum, Australia's best footballer - can you see them in your mind? That person, who excels at something that perhaps makes you feel a bit small and not-at-all 'in their league' and perhaps even a tad jealous, that super successful person in your mind; Steve Jobs, for instance, once had NO IDEA how to build a computer, or run a company, or become a man who changed the face of the world. He was just a guy who had an idea. 

Same deal for global icon Oprah Winfrey – she was just a little girl who grew up in poverty, became a TV reporter and had a name people couldn't pronounce.

There's not a single person who ever walked the face of the earth who hasn't been a beginner, a novice, a newbie. Not one!

Isn't that encouraging? It sure makes me feel better!

Thought 2: New things can be scary. 

Learning requires a great deal of kindness towards yourself, the humility to ask the same question, yet again, and a good whack of confidence. I think that confidence gets built up by being around other learners, and by having encouraging people who may be a bit further down the road on speed dial - whether that's blogging, athletics, parenting, global dominance of social media, or crochet, everyone starts out as a beginner. Everyone needs to be willing to learn.

The trick is not to let fear stop you from doing something that could turn into a passion in your life.
When I was starting my blog, even before I got to that part - in the very beginning, when I was thinking of a name, and trying to understand how to get the blog from an idea in my head to a web presence, I don't mind telling you, I cried a LOT of hot, angry tears of frustration. I was SO frustrated with myself, then I got frustrated at being frustrated, because I thought I'd conquered a lot of my tendencies towards being stupidly demanding of myself. It wasn't pretty. I nearly gave up, before I'd even begun. True story.

The only reason I Give You The Verbs is a thing is because people ENCOURAGED me to keep going, told me that I could do it, that I could learn new things, and eventually become proficient at them and create something that people would enjoy.

Thank you to those people. Thank you so much. Thank you for encouraging me when I wobble. That leads me neatly to my final thought.

 Thought 3:  We all need encouragement. 

Every one of us needs to be looked in the eye and told, ‘you can do this, you can be that, I believe in you’. 

That seemingly aloof/confident girl you envy, she needs it. That got-it-all-together mum you see at school, she needs it. The guy at your coffee shop, he needs it. Even your boss needs it. And I am 100% positive that I need encouragement.

It may be unfamiliar to you to verbalise your positive thoughts about other people, but it really isn't hard to encourage someone. I think the key is to be genuine and not to make a big song and dance about it initially.

Let me break it down so you're in no doubt how to be an encourager - say you're at work, and one of your colleagues looks really good one Tuesday, or has just given a killer presentation that you really got something from, when you pass her desk, or see him getting a coffee, just say, ‘hey, you look great today’ or ‘that presentation was so helpful to me’. This methodology works equally well at the school gate, or at a family party, on the escalator or at a conference.

No need to gild the lily, just be sincere and smile. Job done!

Really, it's as simple as this – be observant, and use your words.

Use them for good, to build others up, and to build yourself up. The more you use your words this way, the easier it will be to become someone who sees the good in others, and tells them so. You might even turn into a stranger-on-the-street-compliment-giver. That stuff is FUN!

Just this week I spotted a lady in a fab leopard jacket doing her grocery shopping, and so I headed her way and said, ‘excuse me, I just wanted to tell you I think your jacket is amazing’. She was chuffed. 

Easy peasy.

This is the stuff that I’ve been ruminating about, these three things - beginning is common to all of us, learning new things can be scary, and everyone needs encouragement.

Where are you beginning? New job, parenting. starting a blog? Is it scary? (You can tell the truth here, it’s a safe space.) How can I encourage you to keep going, and to look for ways to encourage others? Jump in and comment, let's talk this stuff out.

Maybe someone else who reads this knows exactly what you need to know, because they've just been there. Let's find out!


I love this post because as a mother of small children words of encouragement for learning new skills flow easily and profusely from my lips.  Would little kids learn to walk, talk, eat with a spoon, paint with a brush, create, imagine, dream without a lot of falling, failing, stumbling, mess and mistakes?  Would they get there without all the loving and encouragement we give them at every stage?  "You can do it! Keep Trying. You are doing great.  Try again!  That's it. You did it!"  

Okay they might get there eventually.  But there is no doubt that we (I!) can learn a thing or two from the way I encourage my kids when it comes to encouraging myself.  And thankfully when I'm feeling a little less than, I know I have Annette in my corner.

Annette has been writing I Give You The Verbs for about 500 days. She loves it, and hopes her readers do too. She also wishes she had a dollar for every time someone has told her she should do stand up comedy. When she’s not blogging, which she does sporadically at best - Annette loves to hang out at home in her pjs, bake, or spend time experimenting with watercolours. You could call her a social media addict, and she wouldn’t disagree. Annette loves chocolate and correct apostrophe usage. Dappled light is her drug of choice. One day she will gather the courage to submit a guest post to Woogsworld.

If you liked this post you might like this one over at I Give You The Verbs.  It sums up Annette's generous spirit pretty well.

And for more of Annette and I Give The Verbs click the links.  You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Are you starting something new? Do tell.


  1. I love that James Taylor song! Such generosity in your words Kate - what a lovely thing to read. Thsnk you xxx

    1. You are entirely welcome lovely. Thanks for contributing. x

  2. Great post Annette and Kate! I agree that blogging can feel a bit intimidating at first - learning wordpress, plugins, (html!!!) and then having the confidence to publish and keep going. Learning is such a life long thing. I can't tell you how many courses I done or books I've read, learning new things, reigniting old passions, meeting new people. As I get older, I appreciate elderly people even more - oh the stories they can tell, the experience, the knowledge. New things CAN be scary but they can also be so exciting and life changing x

    1. When you think about the rate at which kids learn new things and take this (mostly) in stride, well we have a lot we can learn from them! x

    2. Life changing for sure Karen. In such unexpected ways too. For someone who isn't much for change I am stoked to have new these things in my life. 💜

  3. Thanks so much, Annette (and Kate). I really enjoyed this post. I can vouch for the fact that a little bit of encouragement goes a long way. And next time I feel intimidated by someone so ace at what they do, I'm going to try and remind myself they were a beginner too. I agree with you about elderly people Karen - I met a 91 year old lady the other day who is off at U3A courses regularly. I hope I'm like that when I'm her age!

    1. Yes! I think that notion that everyone was once a beginner, a learner, that no-one starts out an expert is the absolute best outtake from Annette's lovely piece. Thanks for commenting Julie. x

    2. Doesn't that take the pressure off? Everyone begins. Everyone. Glad you enjoyed the post Julie.

  4. Such a joy to meet a new blog here, onesmalllife & then to read how you & Annette met! Go new bloggers! Annette has such a gift with words AND ideas. Wonderful! Denyse

    1. Oh! This comment is such a joy Denyse, thank-you. I hope you continue to enjoy Annette's words (and mine!), I absolutely love collaborating with bloggers and I'm thrilled you got something out of it too. x

  5. Overcoming the fear of beginning and being a newbie has been life changing for me. These days I'm jumping into new things left right and centre and I'm loving learning new things.I feel fortunate to have had you Kate and Annette encouraging me along the way, I'm not sure I would still be blogging if it wasn't for the supportive and inspiring blogging community I found myself in after doing Blog with Pip. xx