Give Yourself Permission to Be a Beginner

Give Yourself Permission to Be a Beginner

Being a beginner at anything can cause us to worry that we’re not good enough. That someone else is probably more qualified and we should step aside. But everyone worries about not being good enough. And that voice inside your head – the one saying you’re too old or will look silly, make too many mistakes, or be embarrassed if you dare to try something new? That voice is a liar.

Instead of stopping us from trying something new, the nervous energy of being a beginner can serve as our internal P.A. system telling us that we’re about to become something we’ve never been before.

Nobody is good at anything until they begin the work it takes to get there.

The trick is to give yourself permission to be a beginner. A student. A novice. An amateur. A greenhorn. A neophyte. A rookie. Have I named all the ways we can label ourselves into thinking that we have no business trying to do something new? “What if I’m not any good at it?” Well, the truth, my friend, is that you probably won’t be at first. But therein lies the beautiful freedom of being a beginner. No one expects you to be (except for that voice we spoke of earlier.)

What does giving ourselves permission to be a beginner look like?

Just in case it’s been a while since you felt the butterflies of beginning something new, I’m happy to loan you some of mine. Here’s what it’s looking like for me as I launch a business to help women grow healthy relationship skills and create a whole and balanced life they love.

  • Asking a LOT of questions (even the dumb ones)
  • Admitting mistakes and learning from them
  • Asking for help (a LOT of help)
  • Keeping my eyes on my own work
  • Expecting setbacks
  • Employing a generous sense of humor
  • Celebrating progress – no matter how small
  • Noticing the feelings of joy and pride in learning something new
  • Risking taking the next step

Give yourself permission to be a beginner.

Let go of the belief that you have to get it right or master anything before you’ve soaked for a while in the freedom of being a beginner. Put in the time to learn and make mistakes, ask for help, and count every single baby step as big enough progress to get you closer to where you want to go.

Feel the joy of beginning without the pressure to perform or be perfect.

Let the joy of being a beginner fuel your courage to risk taking the next step and then the next. By giving yourself permission to be a beginner, over and over again, you’ll find yourself happily living with the wonder and delight of always discovering and becoming something new.

Working hard at something isn’t always enough. But giving yourself permission to be a beginner – a vulnerable, scrappy upstart armed with enthusiasm, determination, and freedom from unrealistic expectations – will always lead to new opportunities for growth. Before you know it, you’ll be saying, “I did it!” And the joy of being a beginner will propel you on to the next thing you’re excited to begin.

“. . . with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

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  1. Susan Agostinelli says:

    Had to share this with one of my granddaughters…it’s so full of wisdom and encouragement! As for myself, it’s still a perfect lesson for older beginners also! At 80, I begin anew every day, and can use your gentle wisdom and direction? Thank you Jody

    1. Thank you, Mama Susan! I really appreciate your encouraging words and love knowing that mine are touching your heart!

  2. I think this should be shared everywhere! Never be scared to begin, and it’s never too late! Thank you!

    1. Awww…thank you Becky! Embracing our beginner status is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves, isn’t it? Opens up all kinds of wonderful possibilities!

  3. Eileen Green says:

    Wow… something NEW at almost 61! Yep, I’m there. Oddly enough it took a cancer journey to find it! After 24 years of being on the floor, finger painting, reading books, etc as a kindergarten teacher and then retiring, i knew my immune system wouldn’t handle that anymore but I still didn’t feel God was done with me yet working in the schools! So I job shadowed with some friends in the secretarial realm with the district and now am a sub secretary when I want to be! I love it! Still have so many friends within the district that I connect up. Gives me such a sense of worthwhile ness even at almost 61!

    1. Eileen! This makes my heart sing! Good for you for figuring out a whole new way to continue using your incredible gifts and talents. I am confident that the district feels as blessed to have you as you feel being there. What a wonderful way to reimagine retirement!

  4. Sue Reich says:

    Hi Jody!
    Love this message! So freeing! You always have the perfect messages at the perfect time. Thank you for sharing Your wisdom with the world and being an advocate for the second act!

    1. Thank you so much, Sue, for reading and commenting and for a great new title for me: advocate for the second act! Freedom is the goal! Freedom to keep growing and experiencing everything God has in mind for us!

  5. Lorraine Murphy says:

    Jody, I guess it’s really time for me to call the piano tuner and get back to those wonderful pieces I had long ago played in recitals (with no music sheet to help)
    At 85, my fingers are getting stiffer but I think this may be the ticket to coming out in a new debut. (Daddy always wished I’d play in Carnegie Hall — but I’ll do even better without that unreachable goal hanging over me.)
    Thank you Jody for being a bright light in my days!
    Love, Lorraine

    1. I LOVE this idea! And I will be there in the front row cheering you on! Do you know any dance numbers? Because a dance party would be fun, too! I’m so glad you’re giving yourself permission to be a beginner again and make some music – the world will be a happier place because of it!

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