Have you ever been put off by the thought of starting something from scratch and being the 'new kid on the block'? Starting from the very beginning and learning the ropes? Do you pride yourself in knowing everything there is to know about your career/hobbies/ways of doing things, and fear ever being in a position where you do not have that safety net to fall back on? Well this approach is exactly that.. Safe.
And whilst ‘safe’ will often pay the bills, creates a sense of certainty and reliability, and allows you to cruise through life without too many headaches, it also boxes you into a cosy little world called your ‘comfort zone’, and that my friends is what I like to call BLAH! Often leading to years of zero excitement, very little passion and often mind-numbingly boring, repetitive experiences.
Now don’t get me wrong, I'm not saying that you need to quit your day job/favourite hobby just in the spirit of keeping things interesting. If you love what you do, or you’re good at it and it makes you happy – stay where you are! You have a good thing going! But that is no excuse to put your feet up and consider your lifestyle set in stone. In fact, it's even more of a reason to open it up to more good stuff that is waiting to be discovered.
Life is all about learning new things. Opening ourselves up to new opportunities. Being a student of life. Forever experiencing the awe, wonder and excitement that comes with discovering something new and foreign. We, as humans, are hard-wired to overcome new challenges, adapt and expand our knowledge as we discover new ways of doing things. And this is something that can be applied to both our careers, and everyday lifestyle.
I so often hear people go on about how they have not discovered their passion, and how they so desperately want to uncover what their dream job/passion is. But they continue to invest in the same routine day-in, day-out, never stretching outside of this world and experiencing things out of their norm.
How can you ever expect to discover a passion unbeknown to you, if you never give yourself the space and opportunity to discover it?
When we reflect on what it is like to be a newbie/beginner at something, be it a new career path/sport/hobby, it is normal for the following feelings to arise –
- Feeling like you are inferior or at a loss, compared to those around you
- Feeling left behind, chasing a huge crowd of successful, knowledgeable people, who seem to speak a whole other language unbeknown to you
- Feeling scared, intimidated and frustrated at what can seem like a daunting, long road ahead
So how do we overcome these feelings, and move past them so we can make ourselves available to the gifts that come with being a beginner and stretch past the limits of our comfort zone?
We accept these feelings for what they are - Warning signals and flashing lights signaling to you that you have taken the first leap outside of your comfort zone and to cue the music because it is time to CELEBRATE.
Yep, it's about time we begun celebrating our newfound position as an open book; a sponge ready to soak up all of life’s lessons; armed ready with knee pads and a helmet to cushion the fall as we take risks and test out our body and mind against the unknown.
Being a beginner at something gives you permission to a) suck at it, b) make as many mistakes as you want, minus the criticism, c) take risks and dive wholeheartedly without expectation and prior knowledge of what may happen, and d) do something in the way your body/mind feels is best, and not by way of habit.
Being a beginner allows you to discover new talents/things about yourself that you never even knew existed. Use muscles that you didn’t even know you had. Gain a new perspective on things and begin to see things differently. Gain a new found respect for others and their unique abilities.
Being a beginner allows us to tap into how we experienced things as a child. Using our minds and intuition to navigate through an unfamiliar problem or territory, instead of relying on the automated thought processes we are used to using day-in, day-out.
"The expert in anything was once a beginner" // Helen Hayes
So next time you are feeling the lows of being a beginner at something, and feeling light years behind the rest, choose to celebrate. Own your situation. Be Proud to be where you are, at the very beginning of it all. Enjoy all the pros, instead of wallowing in the cons, and give it your full heart and soul as you enjoy frolicking in the land of zero expectation and endless outcomes.
Because you are already one step ahead of the rest. You are opening your heart that fraction more, digging that little bit deeper into what this world has to offer, and have taken that step into a world that is strengthening your courage and fear-busting awesomeness by the second.
So with this in mind, I put this challenge to you.
This week, I challenge you to try something new.
Say yes to something you normally would decline, because it isn’t what you would normally go for. Make a commitment to feed that part of your body that is feeling hungry for something different. Here’s a few options to get the ideas flowing:
- If you’re a runner, or a crossfitter – how about committing to a yoga class this week? Or vise versa.
- Don’t fancy yourself much of a creative type? How about spending half an hour this week with a piece of paper and some watercolour paints and see what happens?
- If your least favourite room in the house is your kitchen, how about trying to recreate your favourite restaurant meal at home? You can find a recipe for just about anything online, and every step is written there for you in black and white. How scary can it be?
- Get a kick from watching singers and dancers rock the stage? How about trying a group hip hop class? Take a friend for moral support and let loose!
- How about waking up and watching the sunrise one day this week?
- Book in a holiday that you wouldn't normally consider. Maybe switch up the hotel for a night of camping?
What ever it is you choose, your one goal here is to go against the grain, push past that fear and do it anyway, all in the name of experimentation. Who knows, you might just learn a thing or two!
Remember, this is a challenge. It is meant to be challenging. But it is also meant to be fun. So make your commitment stick, by letting me know in the comments below what you plan to do this week to mix it up and stretch your mind, body or soul. And don't forget to share the love; this is a challenge that everyone can take part in, so why not include your mates and keep each other accountable!