Bring it, Beginners! How to Embrace Being New at Anything

A little over a year ago, I jumped headfirst into an entirely new role at work. As in a 180-degree pivot. The learning curve’s still steep, but I’ve found the opportunities to grow invaluable. Whether it’s learning to read or a new role at work, we’ve all been there: beginners at something. How you approach this period of growth can mean the difference between feeling inspired and energized or uncomfortable and even embarrassed about being new to something. For the outset of a journey to be rewarding and exciting, you need the right tools and a healthy beginner’s mindset.

Here’s a list of seven tips that keep me feeling confident and motivated, especially when I’m the beginner.

Keep Imposter Syndrome in check.

Do you worry that people have misjudged your abilities? That any minute folks will realize they’ve wildly overestimated your smarts, talent, or competence? That’s Imposter Syndrome, a scourge on the beginner’s psyche. Pay attention to your self-talk and keep it positive. Don’t be afraid to look Imposter Syndrome in the eye and say: “I see you, and you’re not going to get the best of me today.” Read Joe Chrysler’s great Spin post for tips on beating this common self-misperception. 

Be curious.

Coming at something brand new can be daunting, but be curious instead of fearful. Explore possibilities and open doors — you never know what helpful or interesting things you might find.

Ask questions and be willing to learn from anyone.

Asking questions is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s natural that you don’t know everything yet. (And anyway, who does?) Don’t be afraid to reach out. Someone unexpected might have something to offer. It doesn’t have to be your boss or the foremost expert in your field, either. You never know what nugget of information will be the key you’ve been looking for. Remember, lead with curiosity!

Bring your fresh perspective to the table.

Beginners, be proud that you’re bringing a fresh set of eyes to whatever you’re new at! You might uncover a new and better way to do things or inspire ideas in others. You might even ask questions more seasoned folks wouldn’t think of and help them rethink their process and perspective. Healthy work environments encourage new outlooks on Standard Operating Procedure.

Be willing to fail.

Humans make mistakes sometimes. Don’t be afraid to act transparently and acknowledge missteps and errors. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job or will never get it right. It just means you’re human. Remember, everyone’s been a beginner at some point.

Take advantage of your tools and resources.

Documentation, company manuals, Google, and colleagues and mentors are all great resources. Don’t be afraid to use them.

Own it when you level up.

Congratulations! You’ve learned and grown, maybe even mastered a thing or two. In any case, you’re steps ahead of where you were. Take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come. Then get ready to dive in again. Whatever’s up next, don’t forget how much you’ll bring to the table.

Embrace not knowing it all! Beginning something is an opportunity to learn new things, grow as a person, and bring unique assets to the table. Keep the tips above in mind as you embark on your journey, and remember: you’ve got this!

Do you have more tips for beginners? Drop them in the comments!