Reality check is my weekly confessional. The good, bad, and ugly will go here so that I can just... be. Be real. Be authentic.
I went back to being a newbie at something this week, and I liked it. A lot.
I used to be someone who got so wound up with being uncertain of what's to come. Like I was trying to perfect something before I even did it. I do this still, but it usually manifests itself only when I feel like I am or should be an expert at it, and now I'm just upholding everyone's perceived expectation of me.
For example, I think I would still get really nervous and worry about a huge road cycling event that involves massive climbs. I would study the elevation map forever and understand exactly what effort I will need to undertake at which times during the ride. I can already hear myself saying "G, once we go around this bend, the biggest climb of the day will be waiting for us." Like reassuring her will help us both get through it easier. I do this because I'm supposed to be good at cycling. And I feel insecure because I worry that I won't be good at it, in those real moments of struggle.
However, there is something so innocent and easy about just being new. Brand spanking new. Never done it before. You're not expected to know, or to do, or to be. If you screw it up it's OK. If you fail, there's lots more chances. In fact, the worse you do, the more attention you probably get because all the people who know what they're doing will want to validate themselves by being the expert and extending themselves to help you.
It's like playing dumb, but you're not really playing. Playing dumb is my favorite. I love to present as though I don't know anything just so that I can hear the mostly opinions and sometimes facts from everyone around me. At least half the time when I ask a question, I already know the answer (at least my reality of the answer, which is not necessarily right!) and I seek information from others at a raw point, where they are not influenced by my knowledge or opinion. And, because I am introverted, it's easy for me to keep my mouth shut and never reciprocate my own view. Unless I feel significantly offended by what's said in the first place, I suppose.
So back to not playing dumb... being new at something is so freeing because it's the one time you can seek to learn and be influenced by others where you have no established point of view and very little is expected. You're ready to be influenced greatly. Albeit cautiously, if you're me. You're set up for the maximum possible potential for growth.
Are you someone who hates to be new at things? I want to be new at everything every day. I guess I could set a mindset shift that would allow for more rejection of external expectations - which, really, is one benefit that I'm after. But, it's actually OK to not be new, to be an expert, or a semi-expert, or some variation of expert. It's also OK to be wrong.
If you're scared to be new, at a group fitness class, at a job, as a parent... just remember it's the best place to be. There's so much learning to be done. And growth is the most potent when you already know that you don't know a thing.