In praise of beginners

Five, four, three, two, one… lift off! 



There are many, many ways to launch into action. No matter which way you choose, they all have one commonality – a beginning. 

More and more, it seems that people are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of being a beginner. 

New habits, new creative outlets, new careers, new relationships – they all have to start somewhere, right? 

What is it about beginning that makes our palms sweaty and our hearts race? 

A response I hear often is that nasty four letter F word – FEAR.  

Fear of not knowing what we need to know. 

Fear of not knowing how to get where we want to go. 

Fear of not having a fixed goal. 

Fear of looking, and feeling, stupid, of being irrelevant. 

Fear of being discovered as an imposter. 

Fear of not being exactly 100% on point the very first time we try something new. 


I’ve felt all of these things, and it is a profoundly uncomfortable experience. 

Beginning involves fear, there’s no getting around that. 

If the goal is to avoid fear at all costs, we can simply write off ever learning anything new. 

If we don’t put ourselves in the place of being a beginner, we can avoid a lot of uncomfortable feelings. 

That’s a valid option, but at what price? 


Think of it this way, almost everything we interact with and enjoy in life comes from someone’s curiosity and their willingness to explore that curiosity. That’s what being a beginner is; being curious enough to take action.  

Did you boil the kettle this morning to make a cuppa? 

Read a newspaper? 

Travel by car/bus/train/tram/bike?

Television wasn’t invented when my grandparents were young. 

The concept of the internet – science fiction, until people began to work on creating it! 

Croissants, traffic lights, press studs, chopsticks, craft blogs, pet hotels, everlasting gob-stoppers…. all of those things exist because someone’s curiosity trumped their fears. 

They began. 

Beginning changes the world. 

That doesn’t mean that every beginning will set you on an epic path, but without beginners, there wouldn’t even be any paths! 

Beginners are rad.

Beginners have courage and stamina. 

Beginners are curious enough to tell their fears to pipe down while they explore new territory. 

Beginners deserve a frickin’ PARADE, because they are having a crack at something. 

The something could be mastering chess or learning to speak Italian. It could be knitting or coding or tightrope walking or kinesiology. 

Beginners often feel vulnerable, and need encouragement to keep going. They need support from more learned beginners, as teachers and mentors. 

Beginners do not need to rush to become something ‘better’ than a beginner, because beginning is awesome! 

I am so inspired by beginners. I love people who feel those uncomfortable things that fear throws at them, who feel uncertain and awkward and six different kinds of dumb, but who push through those feelings in pursuit of whatever they are curious about.  


If you are contemplating beginning, I have some advice for you:

Find other beginners you can bounce ideas off, and gain courage from. 

If you’re learning via a course, embrace the community of beginners you are part of, participate fully in discussions, offer your insights, trust your fellow learners, be open to feedback. Buy new notebooks, do your homework, download resources, and create a database of information you can refer to over and over. Mine every opportunity you’re offered. 

Ask questions. Then ask follow-up questions. Questions are good. 

Email a more learned beginner in your field of interest. You might just find someone willing to share their best beginner’s tips with you. 

Most importantly, in the company of other learners, forge your own path. Find your point of view, your spin on things, and share it. 

Let curiosity take the lead, and don’t give fear top billing. 

And on the days where you feel overwhelmed, remember I’m here, cheering you on. 

Need a permission slip? Let me know and I’ll send you one. 

Let’s begin!

Annette x