As I reflect on the last year or so of my life, I’ve been a beginner in a lot of ways. I am a beginner entrepreneur, foster parent, non-profit strategist, surfer, rock climber…so many beginnings! And I spent a lot of that first 6 months or so beating myself up. At any given moment I was–
A. totally scared
B. embarrassed to admit I didn’t know how to do something
C. too afraid to even start
D. all of the above
But then it hit me. Wait a second….
Why the hell would I magically know how to run a business on day one? Or know how to parent a child who’s experienced trauma? Or what a logic model is? Or how to build out a 5-year budget model for a nonprofit?
I’ve never done any of these things before!
I’m a BEGINNER. And it’s SO ok to be a beginner!
I see a lot of people struggle with this beginner status so I thought we should talk about it here. Ready? Ok!
I’m not sure at what point in our careers or life we reach a place where we believe it’s no longer ok to not know EVERYTHING. But if you’re putting that pressure on yourself right now. Damn. Can I just say….let ‘er go.
I personally reached that point at my last corporate job. Somewhere along the way I internalized that since I had reached a certain level I should know ALL OF THE THINGS. I was the Keeper of Answers and could no longer be permitted to learn new things. And I LOVE to learn. So that was a really debilitating place for my mind to be in!
Are you there too in some way? Struggling to embrace your BEGINNER status? Putting pressure on yourself to just “be the expert” already? Perhaps you aren’t yet an expert parent. An expert <INSERT YOUR JOB TITLE HERE>. An expert friend. An expert triathlete. An expert public speaker. An expert at your new company. An expert spouse. Hey! ME TOO!
First, I am giving you a huge fah-reaking hug right now. Second, let’s get you back into a positive, self-compassionate state of mind. I got you.
Take these four steps with me right NOW to embrace your beginner status–
STEP 1: REFLECT. Let’s do a little walk down memory lane. I want to you think about a different area of your life where you are a FREAKING HARD CORE EXPERT. An area where you fought for your mastery level and won (cheesy, but potentially true example—riding a bike). Go back to that feeling of being a beginner. All the scared. All the nervous. All the fear. Now fast forward. Breathe deep and embrace how much of a bad ass expert you are on that thing now. How that thing just comes natural to you. You know how to do it like it was the back of your hand. You could do it at a moment’s notice. No problem.
Example: For me, I think about how I felt running my first business at Target. I didn’t know the FIRST THING about retail or how to run a $130M business. I sucked at doing the forecasting part of that job for a good six months. But I wanted to learn! So I asked a lot of questions, I got really curious. I was super inquisitive about best practices. I leveraged my team to help me get better. And I got better until I totally excelled at it! Toward the end of my 6-year career I got so good at the forecasting process they trusted me to lead a team of 11 and a $1.4B business! I could forecast in my sleep. Sales, receipts, markdowns, calculating average inventory, turnover and creating a clear, concise message upward all came SUPER easy to me. I fought hard and mastered that skill!
STEP 2: GET IN THE PRESENT. Fast forward into now—where are you a beginner? Or where do you WANT to be a beginner? Where do you want to stand up, wave your hand loud and proud and be like “CRAP! I don’t actually know anything about that, but you know what?! I would LOVE to learn!” Where do you want to develop some self-compassion toward your beginner status?
Example: I am building a lot of self-compassion for myself as an entrepreneur. I don’t always get things right the first time…especially lately when it comes to building websites (argh. Damn wordpress!). But you know what? I am still in beginner status. And that’s OK!!
STEP 3: MEDITATE ON BEGINNING A BIT. Lovingly remind yourself that expertise is TOTALLY POSSIBLE in this new area you are starting in. Breathe in deep to trust the process. To trust yourself. You have learned soooo many new skills over the course of your life thus far. And this is a skill you will learn and hone too! Because that is just. what. YOU. DO! You are just that good. Repeat these mantras:
I am SO capable of learning
I am SO capable of growth
I am SO capable of overcoming my fears
I am SO capable of moving from beginner to MASTER!
Trust that you will reach a level of expertise that you are seeking in this new area too just as you have in other areas before. You might not be there yet, but you are constantly growing and developing every time you practice this new skill.
STEP 4: VISUALIZE THE BRIGHT FUTURE. I want you to imagine your future expert-self a few years from now. Envision that bad ass expert lady. She is such an awesome master at this thing!
- Can you see her total utter confidence in this new area of expertise?
- Can you see her calmly and easily going about this new skill?
- Can you see her using all of her wisdom she now possesses to do this new thing with great ease?
- Do you see her gently laughing at your silly present-self that is fearful, scared, and nervous? She’s laughing because she already knows the tremendous expert you have become!
So moral of the story: It’s ok to be a beginner. After all…
Hope this little exercise helps you as you venture into new beginnings in your life! Or maybe as you are still working to build up the courage to jump into a new beginning! If you want a little extra help or support on your journey, I’d love to walk with you as your coach—tell me more about yourself here and I’ll send a link to my calendar to schedule a free 60 minute intro session.
Love & Light,
3 thoughts on “4 Steps to Embrace Your Beginner Status”
You nailed it. I find it facinating that the more I know, the more I’m not just the Knower of Answers, but the Defender of My Knowledge Castle. Once I’ve decided I know something, I’ve sometimes felt like I have to fight to maintain that position. Fighting that battle reduces my energy to be open and listening for the new. Knoweldge then becomes the enemy of learning. You said it well: You weren’t “permitted” to learn anything new.
I think about the experts I’ve consulted in areas I need help in. They effortlessly supported me with what they knew and I stood in awe. I recently offered what I knew to someone else. And I realized how amazing it is–being the receiver of wisdom made me feel gratitude. Being the giver of wisdom made me feel a different kind of gratitude. Win-win!
Approaching the newness with a wide-open heart, self-compassion, and gratitude for what you know and what you don’t sounds like the perfect recipe for joy and success.
Thank you for sharing your passion for learning and living!
I loved this, thank you! #hitachord
Yay! I’m so glad! ?