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)