Enjoy Being a Beginner

Mastery Takes Time

When new students walk into class to practice yoga for the first time or a business opens its doors for the first time, a very similar experience happens. They both look around at what others are doing and want what they have today even though they are just beginning. I see in both cases they can be quickly disappointed if it doesn’t come fast enough. A yoga student may see the flexibility of the person next to them or see another person fly into an arm balance and ask how fast they will be able to do the same thing. An entrepreneur looks around at the success of other businesses that have been working in the same field for years and expect the same revenue and success as them in their first year.

How do we set the right expectations so we don’t disappoint ourselves and are able to enjoy the process of starting something new? Over the years I have seen people take steps through the journey and have intention as they go through the process and achieve success. I have also observed firms and clients alike try to rush through implementations without taking the steps to train, create unrealistic goals and a tremendous amount of stress for themselves and those around them. In yoga, I see students try to muscle through poses rather than understanding their breath and proper alignment first. They miss that if they slow down and learn the poses it will help them into each posture naturally with very little muscle involved.

I did the same thing when I started yoga. I started and stopped yoga a few times thinking I could never do what I saw others doing – whether that be their flexibility or ability of being still in a pose. Then I finally decided to go to a Beginners class and that changed everything for me. I finally understood where to put my feet, hands, gaze and utilize my breath. I also began to understand that I needed to stop focusing on the people next to me, that I may never do what they can do. I learned to be okay with that. I stopped being competitive and starting enjoying the practice. There is no reason that starting a new business line or service shouldn’t be the same. You should enjoy the excitement of starting something new and all the learning ahead of you. The climb is exciting and opportunities open up that you never realized were available.

There is an excerpt from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz about a man that wanted to transcend his suffering through meditation. I have always thought this is a perfect lesson on why rushing the process only takes you longer to achieve it:

…”Master, if I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?”

The Master looked at him and said, “If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years.”

Thinking he could do better, the man then said, “Oh, Master, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?”

The Master looked at him and said, “If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years”

“But why will it take me longer if I meditate more?” the man asked.

The Master replied, “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won’t enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love and be happy.”

This story is easy to relate to, whether in yoga or in business. We think if we work more hours or rush a new business offering, we will get to the finish line faster and be more accomplished. We find over and over that leads to being exhausted, feeling like we are running in place, staff are overworked and disgruntled or maybe we become disappointed in ourselves because we are not accomplishing what we think we should be in a shorter time frame. These expectations may come from ourselves or those around us. If we take the time to enjoy the journey and take the steps necessary with a tried and true path, we can accomplish what we set out to do. We can look at it like building blocks rather than trying to make it happen faster, and celebrate each accomplishment along the way.

Setting proper expectations when you are starting anything will help create the foundation you need for success and for those around you. Rather than looking at others and wanting what they have now…reach out to them. Let them mentor you and coach you on the measured steps they took to accomplish what you want. Be hungry to learn and not think you know better. Don’t try to skip a step or run before you walk, so you are not disappointed if you can’t touch your toes on day 1. Enjoy the journey to inch closer each time, breathing through each new experience, celebrating your accomplishments, and appreciate the experiences you encounter along the way until one day you are reaching your toes and maybe surpassing them.