Do It Anyway: Crossing a Line

Hello. Let me introduce myself and imagine. I’m 41 and starting a new career path. I have no name, no title, just I’m 41 and changing careers. It seems like such a mountain to climb and everything I’ve known up to this point is now changing. If you’re reading this, maybe you are in the same boat. Plans are put on hold, and now every free moment is dedicated to this new thing in my life. If you think about it, it is sort of like coming home with a newborn baby. And the anxiety of doing everything right and needing to know everything all at once! πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…It can be overwhelming. But, do you stop parenting? Heck no! You do it anyway because you love that drooly, little, big-eyed creature!

To give you an idea of what it is like to be 41 and changing careers, here I am sitting in my teeny tiny chair that feels like it is made for a small child. It’s uncomfortable but I’m here! The room is big and cold and full of space. The space is filled with content, knowledge, corporate jargon, and lots of new information. The library of congress could fit in this room. I look up at the instructor who is enormous and is using all this new language so foreign to me. 

“-MOM!” Suddenly, a force grabs me and pulls me out of the classroom into my mom hat for a moment. My daughter needs my help finding a pencil. I find a pencil and go right back to the classroom. Acronyms and business lingo pour out of the instructor. I look around at everyone who is listening intently and asking all the right questions. 

“Why are their desks bigger than mine? I can fit one piece of paper and a pencil on my desk. They have laptops and notebooks and are typing away furiously.” 

“Honey! I’m home!” My husband walks through the door after a long day at work. “Hi honey! I’m in class! Dinner is on the stove!” I yell. 

 

The instructor rattles in the background throwing out things like “SME,” and “asynchronous learning,” and “Bloom’s Taxonomy.” 

“What the what? Am I in the right place?” Trying to get my head in the game, I begin writing down these words, hoping to find connection with them other than the connection between my hand, the pencil, and the words that are so foreign to me right now. 

Just then, I hear “Instructional Designer.” 

“Ah! I recognize that!” I think. “That’s what I’m studying. Wait…So I AM in the right place?” 

The instructor looks at me and says “Yes.” I look around baffled. “Did she just answer my thought?” But the other students were looking dead front, eyes wide, absorbing information into their large brains and typing away. My desk seems to grow a bit. I feel some relief as my leg could now fit under the desk. I notice two very large people on either side of me with very large desks, dwarfing me and my desk as they seem to know so much. I can’t even see what is on their desk.

 

Just then my brain yells, “Focus!” I sit straight up in my chair and pick up a pencil. 

“I should raise my hand and ask what SME means.”

Every learner turns their head to look at me. “NO!” and shushes me.

I slump into my chair trying to hide from their stares.

“But if I don’t ask, how will I know?”

“Pretend. Nod. You don’t want to appear out of place, do you? Do you want everyone to know you are a ….newcomer? A baby? A …someone who knows nothing? You are 41 after-all. You’re supposed to know things.” 

 

Just then, a more sensible side kicks in. “What in the Sam h— kind of fresh mix of …look, just ask the question!”

I squeeze my eyes closed and raise my hand.

Whoosh! Every head turns again to look at me with their wide eyes and big knowledge. 

“MOM! Can you make me a snack?”

“Ask your dad, honey. I’m in a session.” My heart clutches because I want to make her a snack. 

“Focus!” yells my mind.

“Again with the yelling! Cut it out!” I responded. “Great…now I talk to myself..awesome.”

“Yes, do you have a question?” asks the instructor. 

“I slump down further. Eyes closed tighter.

“What is a SME?” I ask with such great fear that now my heartbeat is louder than the sound of my own voice. Maybe I didn’t actually ask. I open my eyes. The wide-eyed stares now have a judgmental tone about them. I shrug it off.

 

“Oh, I forgot to explain that. Thanks, Tunisha!” 

Oh, joy! I do have a name and she knows it! 

“A SME is the Subject Matter Expert. They are the experts on the subject at hand. Instructional Designers will often work with a SME. We will talk more in depth about that in a bit.” 

Suddenly, my chair grows, my knowledge grows, a small gap is filled, and things begin to shift. What was once this crippling anxiety causing my actions to move so slowly or not at all, is now excitement, knowledge; a piece to the puzzle I am putting together is now in place. The instructor appears smaller. I look around the room and everyone is turned forward, and a look of relief covers their faces as it answers their question as well. By the end of the session, everyone’s eyes, including mine, were filled with more knowledge and excitement. After-all, we just found a new field to dive into, to fill us up with so many approaches, avenues, opportunities-who wouldn’t be excited?

 

The great thing about IDOL courses Academy it is different. There is the massive amount of support. I do not feel alone in my journey or lost in the crowd. There are plenty of topics to cover and content to learn, but with that comes mentors, coaches, and an academy full of people who are going through the same thing and they all cheer you on at every moment. You can come in with a pen and paper and nothing else. No history or field experience, and you can even not believe in yourself. But, if you just take the step anyway, I guarantee you will come out on the other side a shiny, new professional with all the skills you need to be successful, and that crippling anxiety that shows its ugly, monster face with its good buddy, Imposter Syndrome, will be a distant memory. For more inspiration, check out Mandy Brown’s blog or check out some of the testimonials and success stories here.

 

I have learned something in these 41 years that have saved me and helped me grow as a person and professional, and that is to just do it. If you want it, squeeze your eyes shut and just do it. The anxiety will sort itself out when you take action. A good learner isn’t the one who knows all the information. Just like a good teacher isn’t who is holding all the information. A good learner asks the questions, small and big. And a good teacher understands HOW to answer the question so YOU learn from it. As Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  

 

Written by: Tunisha Hochmuth

 

Tunisha Hochmuth is fun-loving, goal-oriented, parenting non-expert, IDOL Courses Academy Alumnus, who loves languages, the outdoors, nature, animals, exploring new things, and family. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

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