How To Survive Being A Beginner

     I have found that one of the most difficult parts about any change I make to my life always begins with one core fear.  It is the fear of being "new" or "the beginner".  It is a vulnerability that can cause a lot of hindering anxiety and self-sabotage.  One way to explain my development and acceptance of this very human experience can be seen here, in a recent scribble in between pages of seed logging:


"Sometimes there is cloud cover over my days.  Some days start at a peak and I rush into my day while simultaneously savoring its delight.  Some days I can  catch myself reaching a point of disconnect and confrontation within myself.  When I feel this way I welcome fear.  My body becomes alert and I become disengaged.  It paralyzes me.  It isn't boredom, but an innate fear of failure at something new.  It is a moment I get to choose if I want to be kind & nurturing or critical & discouraging to the self."


      This fear used to be disguised as an outward concern-- one that I believed was solely happening to me and something I simply could not change.  Now, I can understand that it is something that we must do for ourselves.  It is important that we are patient as we develop and explore the world that we live in and where we fit into the whole dang thing.  We need to be equally protective and encouraging.

     This lesson has been slow and often times painful for me to learn.  It is a lot easier to just label these feelings as someone else's fault.  It takes a lot of guts to face the frightened beginner inside of us all and to hold ourselves accountable for the big ideas we have in our heads.  It's the difference between starting 32 projects and finishing none, and giving our attention to a couple and completing those few with gusto.  

     Here are my little stepping stones to being a successful beginner, as a current and ongoing beginner:

1.  Stop blaming other people for your mistakes.

2.  Celebrate the lessons you learn from said mistakes, not the failures.

3.  Ask people who know more than you for help.  The important ones won't judge.  The unimportant ones will- and you will let it go.

4.  Research everything three times (at least).  If you forget it after you read it then you have not learned it.  There is no way you can learn how to do a vital task after one round of practice.  It is imperative to continue to revisit until the tension of newness is diminished.  This is how you go from novice to experienced.  You cannot skip this step.

5.  Hold yourself accountable.  Keep up with your expectations, but also forgive yourself for seeking rest even if it is at an inopportune time.  It is easy to trust your flow, but you must equally trust your needs for processing all of the newness.

6.  Keep your dreams safe.  Share them only with people that you know will not try to take them from you or hold them over your head.  I do not mean this in a mode of fear.  It merely means that you must protect your vulnerability if necessary.  Being a beginner at something, and particularly something entrepreneurial, means respecting yourself in order to teach others to give you that same respect.

7.   Find the world more friendly through your dreams.  Trust that even if you make a mistake, or if that one family member kind of looks at you funny when you go off on one of your inspired tangents, this does not mean that you cannot achieve your goals.  These little hurdles will only make you face your dreams more squarely if you use them to your advantage.  Allow your growth to lift you up toward your goals like leaves reach for the sun.

It is my hope that you find this at just the right time, when you needed to read it most.  If it isn't quite time for you to think about this, I hope you bookmark it and come back to it if you should ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unsure of something.  A lot of the time, it is an obstacle we set up for ourselves as a test of our commitment to a newly inspired idea.  In other words, it can be a defense mechanism that attempts to predict failure inaccurately or prematurely when really all we are truly feeling is a surrender of control.

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Let me know some ways you cope with being a beginner in the comments below.