Be a Good Beginner



Being a good Beginner.

Recently I was contracted to conduct phone interviews for an organization, the job is to talk to folks who are interested in continuing their education around a particular coaching practice. I am passionate about this coaching practice, of course, it is the process I follow. In fact, it is the very certification I completed early last year. 

One coach’s words really stuck with me. “I want to be a good beginner.”

We dug into that statement a bit, and it wasn’t what I expected. This coach was accomplished and skilled in both leadership and coaching, so she wasn’t a beginner in my eyes. My vision went to something like a race track, and getting off to a good start. Now thinking about it, that would be a good “starter” not a good beginner.  

So, she was talking about her ability to be a good beginner in the sense of learning a new approach to coaching. She was new to the material, thus a “beginner.” It’s tough to unlearn one perspective that is so very ingrained in your DNA, in order to learn a new one and that fact was not lost on this coach.

Beginner’s Pluck by Liz Bohannon addresses this very concern.  To read this book you must be willing to lay down your natural way of thinking and seeing, to play with new perspectives; all in the effort to live a life of purpose and impact.  

#beginnerspluck
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There is so much to talk about in this book. The book’s theme “Build your life of purpose & impact now” is demonstrated through Liz’s journey of building Sseko Designs, which is now a multi-million-dollar fashion brand. We can’t all be Liz, nor should we be. We are however, all called to live with purpose and impact and this is a dynamic book to help us on our way.

So, how can we be a good beginner?  First, traveler (as Liz calls the reader), we need to release the idea that luck has anything to do with it and put on shoes made of “Pluck” Pluck (n.): spirited and determined courage. Certainly, that doesn’t sound anything like luck to me. Second, we need to allow ourselves to experience some ‘serious play,’ check out some of the mind-bending perspectives that you will be asked to try on throughout the journey.  

  • Own Your Average
  • Beginners know that you’ll never find your passion
  • Give yourself permission to Dream Small
  • Beginners Choose Curiosity over Criticism
  • Failure is a Requisite for Growth

These are the things that good beginners allow in their life; they explore and tests them out trusting that if you stay on the journey, your life will ultimately become one of purpose and impact.

Two of the ideas in this book that have impacted me the most so far, are Find and Replace and Get Your Steps In.

Find and Replace is the discipline of continuously asking what the interesting problem is. Liz says, “We mustn’t get so obsessed with our solution that we stop asking, nearly constantly, ‘am I actually helping to solve the interesting problem.’” (p92)

It’s about asking questions, which I was always horrible at doing. Think of it like Jeopardy™ where you are only rewarded if your answer is in the form of a question. There is more to this idea in the book, but the upshot is to be a good beginner, we need to stop being so focused on the solution and replace it with questions around, if what we are doing is addressing the problem.

For me, my life and work are focused on healthy relationships. If we have them then we will enjoy other areas of our life. So, the solution would be to have healthy relationships, duh. But the Interesting problem for me, is how to get the wisdom and tools that have helped me into the hands of people so they can have healthy relationships and experience joy, peace, advancement, contentment, & connection… Now that I know the important problem, I can focus on aligning my actions to find the solution.

Your Important Problem might be having your toddler use the potty, or creating bonds with your teen. Maybe it’s routed in better team communication to get things done. Whatever it is, be more focused on the problem before you sell your soul to the solution.

The second idea that has changed me, is Get Your Steps In. Yes traveler, if you don’t do what it takes to solve that important problem you will not realize the solution. Two cautions are offered in this chapter: one, that our nature is to be busy and say yes to things that aren’t for us to say yes to, keeping us from taking steps that drive us towards purpose and influence. And two, that if we are not getting anywhere, it might be because we are afraid of making a wrong step.

I don’t know how many times I’ve started, “solving” my important problem, only to get distracted by things that I know I could do, but took me far away from my purpose. I’m also seriously guilty of allowing fear to paralyze me into sloth or complete shut down because I wanted to do things perfectly or the right way.  Well to be a good beginner;

We need to get out of our own head.

Stop looking at others.

and start taking the steps in some direction and we will eventually get on the path that leads us to our very own, God made purpose for our life.

I wish I could dive into the content of the book more, there is so much I’d like to explore with you my dear, Peacemaker. But it just makes more sense for you to pick up your own copy of Beginner’s Pluck book and start your own journey to purpose and influence. I would totally engage anyone who does pick it up to discover what’s important to you. If you order before September 30, you will receive a hard copy book, a free audio version, and a brave bracelet from Sseko designs.  

We will fail, and that is ok.

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