We Seek
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We Seek

The Fear of Beginning Again

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash.

But what nobody talks about is what happens when you forget what it’s like to be a beginner.

The Beginner Again inflection point

I’m bad at this new thing

When you have very few (or none) of your proficiencies to anchor you in your expertise, it can feel anywhere from disorienting to paralyzing.

Getting past the Beginner Again inflection point

1. Know what’s at stake.

To get through the inflection point, we need to recognize that complacency is our worst enemy.

2. Understand what’s behind your questions (and make sure they’re really questions!)

What if I use the wrong kind of wax on my spare Lamborghini?

3. Use tiny wins to build momentum.

Image credit: Kathy Sierra, Creating Passionate Users

How to be a Beginner Again in any part of your life

  • A new job or promotion — people who are promoted to the level of managing or leading teams find themselves needing to learn an entire new skillset.
  • Artistic or creative skills — drawing or painting, playing music, even learning to write code all feel scarier to learn from scratch the older we get, in part due to our fear of being a sucky beginner.
  • Public speaking and writing — countless high-performing creative people fear public speaking worse than they fear death. And you might think you need to start writing 2000 word missives like this one to get started. You don’t.
  • A new sport or activity — I hired a trainer in early 2016 and found myself using these techniques to get through the rough early parts of changing my fitness routine.



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Alex Hillman

Skywalker. Peoplewatcher. Placemaker. Honest. Fearless Leader @IndyHall. JFDI. Armchair anthropologist. Serendiptition. My life only makes sense in reverse.