Nearly every day in my work, I watch people do things outside their comfort zones and current ability levels. I ask them to tune into parts of their bodies that they have never before consciously considered.
“Jump!” I say. “I haven’t jumped since I was a kid,” they say.
“Lift this,” I say. “No! Too heavy!” they say.
“Engage your butt muscles,” I say. “I can’t feel them,” they say.
“Can you draw your shoulder blades down your back?” I ask. “Where are my shoulder blades?” they ask.
They get frustrated. They resist. They get mad at me. They cry.
“We aren’t here to do what comes easy to you,” I tell them.
They sigh. They roll their eyes at me. Even so, they try.
Eventually they laugh, learn, succeed, grow. They squeeze their shoulder blades, they ignite their butt muscles, they jump over the hurdle. “Make it heavier!” They demand.
We all must be beginners if we are to grow.
Growth requires movement, and it means that there are things you do not know now that you will know later, but only if you are brave enough to allow yourself to be a beginner, brave enough to spend time fumbling along, doing things “wrong” for a while, before you do them “right.”
Or, in the words of my friend Jay, “You have to allow yourself to be bad long enough to get good.”
A unique intimacy develops between my clients and me when they are willing to be vulnerable, willing to show me their weak points, willing to admit where they feel lost, willing to reveal their shame, willing to receive my compassion, willing to consider my advice, willing to try an unfamiliar approach.
It happens when they are willing to be beginners ~ clumsy uncertainty and all ~ with me as their audience.
I, too, must be willing to be a beginner, willing to let go of my preconceived ideas, willing to listen and hear, willing to change my approach when it doesn’t work, willing to admit what I don’t know, willing to learn more, willing to notice when I become impatient, willing to do my own internal work so that I can show up as more present and effective coach.
I turn 38 years old next week, and of the boundless growth I have witnessed in my work with clients, the most profound growth has ~ without question ~ been my own. With age comes an understanding that there infinite things I do not understand.
One thing I have learned for certain, powerful things happen when two people come together and say, “I am willing.”
As always, I love to hear from you.