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Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Beginner

In second grade I remember being afraid to do a penny drop from the monkey bars because I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to look silly in front of my friends who could nail the penny drop. For those of you who don’t know, a penny drop is when you hang upside down from the monkey bars by your knee pit (yes, it is a word) then plummet to earth while rotating one hundred eighty degrees to land on your feet.

So, do you know what I did?  

I played soccer, tetherball, basketball, and completely avoided the monkey bars. To this day, I’ve never learned how to do a penny drop and honestly, I regret it. I was afraid. Afraid to fail and afraid to admit that I was a beginner and needed help. I have been afraid of this my entire life. In fact, I am a bit afraid even writing about it because I am admitting it for the world to know and that feels nauseating.

Self Realization

I realized a few years ago this has been a theme my whole life.  I’ve always wanted to seem like I knew what I was doing.  Not because I wanted to impress anyone but because I was afraid to admit that I didn’t know.  That if I admitted I didn’t know someone would think I was a failure.  And one of the things I hate most in life…failing.

This self-realization came when I began to CrossFit.  I know what you are thinking, not another CrossFit obsessive story. But just hear me out…

Crossfit is humbling. You essentially try a whole bunch of new movements that your body has never done for consecutive days and realize that the athlete you thought you were, has left you. Your body is expected to move in ways it never has and do it efficiently, effectively, and gracefully.

I was none of those things in the beginning. So, I became obsessed. I wanted to be good at every single movement — in fact, I wanted to be the best. I was a runner, a cardio queen, but not a weightlifter. So, I practiced at home and stayed at the gym extra hours to increase my skill level. I began to throw more weight on the bar in an effort to compete with the best with total sacrifice of correct technique. And I did that for a long time. Until I realized, I wasn’t really getting better. In fact, I hit a huge plateau. I had been lifting at the same weight for months and I had no idea why. So I worked harder with the same ugly technique and got nowhere.

Then it came to me.  I had sacrificed technique, the foundation, the beginning, in an effort to compete. I had to change something in order to overcome this stagnation.

That something was admitting I was a beginner.

Starting Over

I needed to start over, from the ground up, and retrain my bad habits. I had to put my pride aside, admit my faults, and become a beginner by taking some big steps back before I could move forward.

Can you relate?  Have you been in this place in life before?

It isn’t easy. It is an ego check and honestly embarrassing.  To top it off I am a CrossFit coach. I needed a coach with more knowledge than I had at lifting to coach me, a coach.

When I had this epiphany about myself, I began to reflect at similar situations in my life. I began to identify the moments and opportunities that I missed out on because I wasn’t willing to be a beginner. I wasn’t willing to admit I didn’t know because my pride was too big to admit I didn’t. I’d missed out on learning more in college because sometimes I felt like I knew the content so well, when in fact I didn’t truly deeply understand.

I missed out on being a better mom at times because I often felt like I had mastered certain stages of their life, when in fact I hadn’t (and still haven’t). I missed out on being a better wife because I didn’t want to admit to my husband that I was a beginner when it came to truly, authentically, connecting to his needs. There are more, many more that I know I could list.

And then, I realized that I couldn’t be a Varsity player if I didn’t have JV skills.

So I made changes. I didn’t want to continue through life this way and more importantly, I needed to show my kids that you have to start from the beginning to get to the top. I was at a turning point in my career and in my life and I knew I needed to fully embrace the beginning to become who I wanted to be in the end.

(Want to be a beginner and learn to stay on track with your health journey? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

So…

I began to do more yoga to give mobility to muscles that were the foundation for movement.

I’d begun to break my lifts into parts before I could work on the whole.

I began to read more to discover truths not just hearsay.

I’d ask other moms what worked for them because I don’t have all the answers.

I began to resist the urge to say “I know” in situations where I really didn’t.

To really dig in and learn, I began to take more classes to learn from people whose experience could add so much value to my life.

I began to look inward and study spirituality.

I began to surround myself with people who really know more than me because I needed their presence in my life to make me better.

To fail on myself would be the best gift of experience I could have, so I began to experiment on my body and try new things.

I began to try to just simply be a better listener.

I began to be more intentional and present.

And the best part…I began to learn things I would have otherwise missed out on because I was afraid to be a beginner.

When I stopped trying to always be “advanced” I realize that being a beginner was awesome. I began to see growth in my life, in my strength, in my heart and in me as a person.

I love when people come to me and admit they too are beginners. That they are beginners in understanding how to fuel their bodies and allow me the opportunity to guide them in that journey.  Together we learn and each time I have the opportunity to be a beginner with them.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at your life in order to take a step forward and move on in it” -Rashida Rowe

Don’t be afraid to be a beginner.  Checking your pride at the door and really admitting you don’t know opens up so many opportunities for growth in mind, body, and spirit. I still wrestle with that internal habit to say “I know.” But now I am aware and work to strangle that urge (most of the time) before it is spoken.

I encourage you to be a beginner too.

Are you nervous to be a beginner? What would make it easier for you?

Work Hard Be Kind,

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