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  • Writer's pictureKaren Howells

Become a Beginner Again


The Howells Group Blog - Become a Beginner Again


Let’s face it; it’s awkward to learn a new dance step. No matter what the context. As 2022 was ending, I finally got back to the gym. The new trainer encouraged me to try the “Full Fitness” class addressing cardio, strength, and balance. My goal was to return to and then exceed my previous level of fitness, plus avoid injury.


I confess my first few weeks were a pain. In every way. It felt like I’d never get the rhythm with my brain and feet out of step. Feeling awkward and frustrated I’d digressed greatly, I unconsciously compared my pacing with those next to me – always a bad idea! I felt and looked like a “newbie” again! Later, while nursing some pretty sore muscles; I reflected that learning and relearning requires accepting being a beginner again; even embracing it!


As we succeed in our adult lives, feeling clumsy and less competent gets much harder. But to navigate the reality of constant disruption and change it’s the only way forward.


Here’s 3 things to try:

  1. Stop performing – immerse yourself in learning. Focusing on “performing” (e.g. trying to look good, appear competent or compete with others) consumes way too much cognitive and emotional energy. Instead – keep your eye on learning with all you’ve got; it’s more effective and satisfying.

  2. Embrace the awkward. In our hearts we know it’s true: significant learning & growth always live at the at the edge of your comfort zone. Remember: comfort is NOT the goal – learning is.

  3. Capture your learning. Journal, share and teach others what you experience and learn. This helps embed your progress and anchor your learning.

Music motivates me (especially the way good singer songwriters spin things), so here’s an extra bonus to lift your spirits on those days when you’re discouraged about learning the new. This original song written by Luke and Rachael Price, Portland based husband and wife duo known as Love, DEAN, sums up that starting every day as beginners puts us in good company because “beginners lead the brave.”

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