When I was twenty years old and living in Southwest Florida, I was certain that doing everything by myself was the best way to get through life.
I had just bought my first home, owned my first personal training business, and was training a professional hockey team. I was independent of my parents and felt like I could take on the world. I had personally created my life.
Although I had already been through a lot in my early life, I had given myself a clean slate and the naiveté of my twenty-year-old mind was open to just about every possibility.
I spent years engraining this belief deeper. It was a belief that kept my life together while holding people at an arm’s distance. To challenge a belief that was integral in developing my dream life was very difficult.
I thought, “What if my life falls apart? What if I never get it all back together? What if I change my mind and my whole world collapses?”
Given that I was the only single girl that I knew in the area and that I was having challenges with some of the people I worked with, I decided to challenge my “do it alone” mentality.
In order to shift my destructive beliefs, I had to come back to a “beginner’s mind”.
Beginner’s mind is a state of seeing yourself, your life, and the world around you as if it were for the first time. It’s letting go of everything you “know” or “believe” or are “certain” about.
Beginner’s mind is seeing your life through an unfiltered lens. Imagine that you have wiped off all the thoughts, beliefs, and past experiences that prove their rightness. You can see your life from a clear perspective and see yourself from the outside in.
This is what I had to do in order to overcome my belief that “being alone is how I get through life.” I had to step back entirely and give up that belief.
I needed to find evidence for the contrary. I had to find evidence that proved that my believe might be wrong. I started observing relationships that I admired.
I’ll be honest, there weren’t many. I had surrounded myself with relationships that I found dysfunctional or undesirable to further prove that being alone was better.
However, I found a few relationships that I truly admired. I focused on them and slowly I could see desirable things in the relationships that I once dubbed “undesirable”. I could see many benefits to being in a partnership.
Then I had to look at my work relationships. This was even harder for me. I was so set in my opinion that people should “show up on time, do their work, do it good, be pleasant and go home.”
The fact that anyone could want acknowledgement, appreciation, or (heaven forbid) guidance, was far beyond my scope of management. I had to consciously look for evidence that proved me wrong. I had to let go of years of righteous complaining and my systems for “empowering” people. Of course as it turns out appreciation, relationships, and collaboration have now been scientifically proven to be the best motivators for long-term employees.
So not only had I proven myself wrong by watching from a “beginner’s mind”, but science proved me wrong too.
So there I was 0 for 2. I had to get into beginner’s mind to change my mind and ultimately change my life for the better.
Nowadays, I love working in teams in a collaborative environment. I love being in my romantic relationship and not to brag, but I admire our relationship… We’re pretty awesome 🙂
I challenge you to step into beginner’s mind.
Get ready… Pull out your journal and pen… And GO!
What areas of your life are frustrating?
Is there a common thread between these areas?
List all of your beliefs around each topic.
Step back. Which one is really having a profound effect on your life? What belief gives you a “zing” when you read it?
Find evidence to prove yourself wrong. Witness the opposite side. Even if you choose to keep your belief later, prove your belief wrong now.
When you’re done, love yourself up good with some relaxation. Beginner’s mind is a great place to be for every day living. Constantly being in the present and curious about life.
Thank you for reading! Share this with someone that you know is frustrated and needs guidance in creating a beginner’s mind.
Much Love and BIG smiles,