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Being a Beginner

2014 November 5


I read a Twitter bio the other day where the person described herself as, among other things, “a beginner recipe developer and photographer.”

In a world of “experts,” “leaders” and “top everything,” it was so refreshing to see someone who is starting out at something new, realizes she is just starting out, and tells the world she is just starting out.

With pride.

We spend so much time striving to get ahead, to do more, to be better at everything and it felt really nice to have someone own the beginner title and everything that comes along with it: interest, excitement, naivete, innocence.

I think there is something truly special about beginning something new, something unexpected, something outside of your comfort zone. To ask for help along the way, to embrace your mistakes as you learn, and to be a student all over again.

So what are the keys to being a beginner?

An open mind. So you’ve never baked a cake in your life. Maybe you don’t even know what “manual mode” is on your camera. Perhaps you haven’t picked up a paint brush since preschool. That’s ok. In fact, maybe that’s better. A beginner is there to learn and to try and to progress. Starting from nowhere can take you everywhere.

Patience. Knowing that it’s hard to begin again. To try something new, to break away from the things you already do so well (you were a beginner at those things once upon a time, too!). And being patient with yourself and the process as you work your way through it.

Time. Finding time to indulge in learning and experimenting and not feeling guilty about taking that time to do so. Regardless of your busy social calendar or the weight of your inbox.

Inspiration. A passion that propels you forward. It may not be there every day, it may not be there every hour. But it has to be with you in some sense to keep the flame ignited.

A mentor. Can be physical, virtual or mental. Someone or something that can guide you as you explore your new path and offer you support and advice along the way.

And finally, confidence.

To know you are just beginning and that you will get better (or not – and then you can go and begin something else).

To try it today. Even if you think you’re too old or too young or too busy or too shy.

To tell the world you are beginning. On Twitter. On your blog. Over a coffee date.

And to say it with pride.

I am a beginner photographer. I am a beginner floral designer. I am a beginner book writer.

And while some day it would be nice to be an expert at all three, for now I am just going to enjoy…beginning.

*image above via Death to the Stock Photo

2 Responses leave one →
  1. November 5, 2014

    Oh, yes. This is such truth! My daughter has only been running cross-country for one season but the other day she told me she missed the day when she was a beginner and didn’t have any expectations. Of course she is still a beginner, in the grand scheme, but it’s not the same as when she had a totally blank slate. I think there’s something to that, too, about beginning – no expectations or assumptions.

    • WWGD permalink*
      November 5, 2014

      Ooh, yes! I love that. So very true. That innocent approach where anything is possible.

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