Today I am thankful for being a beginner again.
Tonight I went with Becky to yoga again. The instructor was one of the owners, Nick, and he was very friendly from the start. Becky had warned me about him, super friendly and energetic, yet ready to push you further than you think you can go (in a very good way!).
As class got started he told a story about wake-skating this weekend and while he the first time he tried it he “killed it”, this weekend his second time was not nearly as successful and “got killed by it.” The point of his story was that regardless of whether it is your first time or one millionth time, always try to find something new in it. “Look for a new nugget that you haven’t seen before.”
While there wasn’t a ton of thought going while I was contorting my body in crazy shapes and positions that were way more tiring than I’d ever think they would be, as we cooled down his words started sinking in…
I really don’t like being told what to do, but in this class I was not only okay with it, I was looking forward to it. I was ready to be told what to do and when, to stop thinking and just be doing and lose thoughts of anything other than my breathing (and how hot it was… and how much my muscles were burning…). There was no conscious, and definitely no ego. As he told us to move into new positions I tried things I really haven’t done before. Some of them were little (jumping my feet to my hands), some helped to push me past my perceived limits (holding wheel longer than I ever have) and others were a little more than I thought I could do (looking up at my thumbs while in half moon to twist my body more). In some cases I was successful! In some cases I totally failed and fell. As I thought about it while cooling down (I know, I know, I was probably not supposed to be thinking yet) I realized that I hadn’t been afraid of trying anything new. My ego and defenses were down and I was not afraid to try something that may cause me to fail. It was also interesting to realize that while I failed I was smiling because I had tried and I was making progress.
All that thinking has me thinking more. How is it that I was so open to trying something new? How did I let myself be okay with failing if it was in pursuit of getting better? Why is it that in other situations I get frustrated when I am told what to do and get frustrated when I fail? How do I keep a beginner’s mindset in things I’ve done for years?
And that’s when it hit me. Nick was right on when he told the story of wake-skating. “Look for a new nugget you haven’t seen before.” Maybe it’s something I’ve done hundreds of times, what is the one thing I can find to focus on improving? What’s something I can take away from my conversation with a mentor, a team member, or even one of my kids that helps me hone a skill better or master my art better? These thoughts, and the words of Nick, are sure to stick in my brain for quite some time.
Today I am thankful for being a beginner again, and I’m thankful for the advice that will continue to help me find ways to be a beginner at everything, even the things I’ve done many times before.