I’m a beginner. And prrroud of it.
There is nothing as humbling as starting over.
Last Sunday I made a very last minute decision to attend a LifeBarre fitness training. When I made the choice to sub out my intenSati class AND drive 2 1/2 hours for an 8-hour training, I was full of excitement to learn a new format that I could start teaching at LifeTime Fitness. But, as the training began, it felt like walking into the group exercise room for the first time. My excitement had waned and the fear of failing and not being enough combined with the uncertainty of whether I could teach such a “graceful” class format made me feel like a beginner all over again. I started to obsess about not being fully prepared – apparently there was an online video and course work to be completed prior. Inside my type A body I could feel the constriction of my breath and as I sat there panting, I realized something…
I AM a beginner. And that is OK.
A week later and this experience has really stuck with me. I’m certain I needed to feel those beginner feelings again and I’m totally convinced that LifeBarre training was the best thing I could have done for myself personally right now and something that I needed to do as a fitness professional. It reconnected me not only with the joy of beginning, but it also reminded me of the anxiety we experience when doing something for the first time and how that anxiety and discomfort of not knowing can stop us before we really get started.
Can you even recall the last time you did something for the first time? If you’re like me, it’s probably been a while. I had gotten so accustomed to doing what I know and excelling in those areas. I have been the expert, the go-to girl behind the scenes making sh*t happen. While that’s great – and please don’t discount what you’re doing really well – doing what I already know will never take me to the next level.
If you want to get something started – a blog, a book, a big creative project, a new business, a new way of doing business – if you want to get to your next level of living, you have to break through where you currently are. Whether it’s on a physical, mental or emotional level, you have to actually break through what you’ve been habitually doing or thinking. And for most of us, when given the choice between doing what’s comfortable, easy, familiar or uncomfortable but still familiar, and trying something new for the first time, we default to what we already know because in our mind that’s all we know.
Mindset is everything. Especially in the arena of newness.
Anytime we do something we’ve never done before, we are essentially a beginner. But there’s a difference between being a beginner walking into the unknown and having a beginner’s mindset. The beginner’s mind is free of assumptions and preconceptions – it’s open, curious and excited. It’s a mind empty and ready for new things. And it’s this enthusiasm and free thinking that allows us to try something new, start over and open to endless possibilities.
Be a Beginner:
Ask lots of questions
Pretending you know everything doesn’t serve you – or anyone else. Only when we get curious can we expand what we know and can do. In fact, having a beginner’s mind allows a very subtle and profound shift to occur in our moment to moment experience: we shift from being our thinking or thinking in a very fixed way to being aware of our thinking, and only when we’re aware of our thinking can we get curious and find new solutions.
Asking lots of questions about form and the structure of LifeBarre allowed me to let go of having to have control and be perfect. And, when I did that, I was able to have fun, get creative and curious, and stop overthinking every little detail. Asking lots of questions allowed me to take the first step into practicing teaching this format.
The first step is the most important step of even the most epic journeys and experiences. Without it, not a damn thing happens. The reality is we all start at square one, but if we’re not willing to live the questions and ask lots of them we’ll sacrifice being brave enough to step onto that square.
Stop caring what people think
Knowing I was in the room where just about everyone already knew the master instructor – and where two of the participants were former ballerinas – was enough to have me go into “not enough” mode where I end up doing anything to please and prove I am enough. But, I was also aware that this attitude has never brought me the attention, accolades or love I’ve wanted in the past. There’s nothing authentic and real about the hyper-polished, perfect look-at-me persona. And that mindset won’t fly once you’re a beginner again.
If you’re taking a writing workshop, going on a blind date, or stepping into a new role within your company for the first time, guess what? You might seem like an “amateur” because you are…and that’s OK.
Show up, work hard, be open and stop caring about what people think.
Being a beginner is always humbling and humility is one of the best things you can have when learning or trying something new. It’s a necessary component to get to your next level.
Allowing myself to receive constructive feedback, rather than go into perfectionist-fixing mode, was a great and gentle reminder that we need the support and input of others in the pursuit of any endeavor. Read: we are not alone in any of this, especially the new stuff.
Are you humble enough to handle it when you get negative feedback from a customer? Humble enough to roll with it when someone gets the job/speaking gig/whatever you wanted? Humble enough to stay chill and not get a big head when you DO get something you want?
Being a beginner is one of the best things you can do for your business, relationships and your life. The world needs more beginners – this week, be one!