Recently, I was speaking at an event with a room full of successful senior women who were giving their time to mentor younger women.
During the Q&A portion of the talk, one woman raised her hand and confessed; “Your talk made me realize…I don’t have any hobbies. When I try something new, I get frustrated and impatient if I’m not good at it right away, so I just quit.”
She couldn’t stand being a beginner.
This woman went on to share that she’d realized this needed to change. She was missing out on fun and creativity because of her own perfectionism.
Impatience and perfectionism put a real dent in joy.
She’s not alone. I’ve taken a painting class and gotten frustrated at my inability to translate the images in my mind’s eye onto a canvas. I stopped going when my “results” weren’t coming quick enough.
I know what it’s like to quit before you start.
How’d we get like this? Isn’t it curious? What happened (to women in particular) that’s caused many of us to be so impatient that we won’t even pursue something unless we’re immediately good at it?
More importantly, how can we shift this?
Give yourself permission to be a beginner.
It helps to literally write yourself a permission slip. Something like: “I give (First Name) permission to be a beginner at xxx and look like a fool.”
Allow yourself to be messy and make mistakes. To do something and feel utterly embarrassed as a result.
This is the way to mastery.
Or, maybe you’ll never reach mastery. But you’ll have fun and learn a ton along the way.
Maybe mastery was never the point.
What if the whole point isn’t the “result” but who we become in the process of learning, growing and stretching ourselves out of our comfort zone?
The ability to learn new things and move through the resistance that shows up in the beginning when we…well…suck, is an important life skill. It builds resilience and the ability to overcome obstacles. It increases curiosity, confidence and creativity.
We need to let ourselves suck at things more often.
Being ok with the discomfort of being a beginner is the key to moving past this suckiness.
So today I invite you to ask yourself; “How am I selling myself short? What am I too terrified to begin because I don’t want to look bad, be a beginner, or make a fool of myself?”
Leave a comment below and let us know! How have you quit before you began and what’s helped you move through the discomfort of being an awkward beginner?
If more of us were willing to get messy and look like idiots, the world would be a better place.
May you achieve mastery at being a beginner,
P.S. It’s still not too late to join the 30 Day Meditation Challenge! You can join for the whole month of January. Come be a messy meditator with us!