Not New, Not Perfect

In our culture, we’re extremely forgiving of someone who is brand new to an idea. We also tend to be highly respectful to those who are experts in their craft. What we don’t handle well is any stage in between.

As an educator, I’ve seen many people unapologetically try something new. I’ve also seen many people who move forward with the confidence of an expert (whether they deserve the title or not.) Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed many, many more people who feel like they should be further along than they are, simply because they’re no longer “beginners.”

You know that famous adage that says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”? In almost all cases, that walk hasn’t been completed before you need to lift a second foot. Somewhere in there, a third, tenth, hundredth, and even 500th step is implied.

Imagine how proud we’d be to show off what we’d learned if it didn’t come with the shame of not existing at one end of the path or the other. No matter how smooth or straightforward the road is, there shouldn’t be a stigma associated with walking cautiously — who knows when you might meet a metaphorical mountain lion.

Beginners are wonderful, as are experts — but what about those of us who are mediocre and still determined to keep learning? What about those of us still struggling in the middle? We “Middlers” deserve a place, too.

So, I’m calling all Middlers to stand with me today to share your journeys without fear of being judged. Share what you have been working on learning for long enough that you can’t dismiss yourself as a beginner, but are still looking for support and reassurance. For me, it’s Unity. What is it for you?