I’ve always thought of myself as a theoretical learner. I was always the one wanting to read the instruction manual thoroughly, before opening the bag of 1001 how-to-confuse-the-heck-out-of-you Ikea screws. I valued my French grammar lessons because they taught me the proper structure of the language, so I could actually formulate a sentence that wasn’t complete gobbledy-goop.

So it surprised me when, in a moment of contemplation this week, I realised I’d turned into an experiential learner. Quite when this shift actually occurred I’m not sure, but I’m guessing in the last year. What does this mean? It means I know how I learn, and that is a particularly useful bit of knowledge to know.

The thing about being a theoretical learner, is that it lends itself to success and thus avoids failure. Failure was big for me growing up, or at least a fear of failing was. I know a lot of people who are scared of failing. No-one likes to look stupid, get it wrong, get laughed at or be punished (either at school or at work with a demotion, lack of promotion, belittling or other some such hardship). So it’s much easier if you just get it right first time.

So we take precautions. We read the instructions. We memorise the steps. And then, only when we really, absolutely have to, we do it. We experience what we’ve been learning about.

Let’s be honest. Sometimes it’s a whole lot easier to learn everything we can, then not actually do the thing we learned how to do. We know how to do it, we just choose not to. We convince ourselves that we’ve learned all we need to, or our needs have changed and it’s time to learn something new, but deep down we know that it’s really because we know if we actually have to DO the thing, it opens up a possibility for failure, and that’s something we want to avoid at almost any cost.

Here’s what changed for me in the last year:

Living theoretically stopped being good enough for me. Living the life of my dreams and feeling fulfilled theoretically stopped feeling good at all. In fact it became more like an itch. A subtle knowledge that I wasn’t reaching my potential, but I actually knew how to, I was just choosing not to.

Well that was just annoying.

But what could I do? I couldn’t undo my knowledge of a better life, a life where I was fulfilled and happy and living up to my potential and soul’s mission. I knew it and I couldn’t pretend I didn’t. So I had two options, continue as I was, or suck it up and try it out.

Experiencing is scary. I know that odds are I’ll fail at my new life spectacularly a number of times, and I’ll want to give up. I have to hope that my spirit reminds me what I’m doing, and that some of my real-life, lived experience will stay with me to help me in those dark moments of failure. Because if you don’t have the failure, you’ll never have the lessons that ultimately lead you to the success beyond your wildest dreams, and I definitely want to hold out for that.

Tell me what you’re scared of trying right now? What are you carefully researching and learning about to avoid actually doing?


I’m Emma Brooke. I work with beautiful, intelligent, compassionate and spiritual ladies who have somehow stepped away from their true selves and aren’t entirely sure how to get themselves back again. In my signature program, I take you step by step over an eight week period from overwhelm and mental exhaustion to selfish-centeredness – knowing what you want, what you need and how you can make yourself and those you love feel fulfilled and complete. Schedule a chat with me.