On being a beginner again
Why being a beginner again is one of the best things to happen to you
It’s taken nearly three months for me to be in any sort of clear-headed position to write this particular blog post on why being a beginner again is one of the best things to happen to me. If I’ve learned one thing this year, it’s that time is everything and with time…everything usually slots into place.
When I left my comfortable, safe job of 4 and a half years where I was surrounded by lovely friends and knew my role as a a content and influencer marketing manager inside and out, I was truly terrified. The decision was not an easy one but I knew in my heart I was ready for my next challenge.
I was especially scared because I was about to take a career side step into digital project management which I now know with hindsight and experience, was honestly, no mean feat. My new job would bring me my biggest professional challenges to date.
And whilst learning the ropes of a new role as well as getting to grips with the nuances of a new business has been something of a whirlwind with plenty of ups and downs over the last few months, there is certainly something to be said about being a beginner again and the liberation that comes with that. Upon becoming a beginner again I have had to think differently about things, accept more encounters of failure, and really push myself well out of my comfort zone.
It really does take courage to start again and to take on a new challenge, especially when you have bills to pay and responsibilities that mean you’re not just looking after yourself. However, I always try to say to myself: “If you never try, you’ll never know”. I’ve had a bit of a fog over my brain over the last few months while I tried to re-calibrate myself, but now the fog seems to be lifting and I am getting back to normal.
When you’re an introvert, your fears feel massively amplified…
By nature, I’m a very introverted person. Contrary to what society and career hustlers say I should be like, I don’t thrive on change and I like to be in a safe space where I know I have the support to make mistakes. I also like routine and stability. Sue me. (lol)
In my old job, lots of time and experience made me competent and I understood how to solve most problems due to the familiarity of it all. In my new job, I found (and sometimes still do) find myself constantly apologising that I don’t know the answers or the best way to approach things. It’s really quite frustrating when you’re so used to being able to understand something.
But…Don’t be afraid to not know the answers…
However, when you’re back down at the bottom of the ladder, you really do have to suck up your pride and not allow yourself to feel inadequate if the answers don’t come to you immediately, or you find yourself needing to ask people a lot of questions to get by.
On my first day in my new job, I really had no idea what I was doing, everything seemed so very alien — the terminology, the processes — everything. Being consciously incompetent is tough, you feel a total mix of embarrassment, anger, vulnerability — Even grief for your old knowledge. Though it must be remembered that there are four stages of competency and with time, we all get there.
And whilst there might be things you can’t do, there are plenty of things you can do
Just like me, if you feel that old enemy, imposter syndrome creeping in remember, you were hired because someone saw something in you. My new employer took a big gamble on me as I had little to no experience in digital project management.
Equally, I took a big gamble on them too, in that I needed them to be able to support me through it. Take yourself back to a time whereby you were learning something new and then mastered it, there is definitely some comfort in that. If it’s happened before, it will happen again.
Don’t forget where you’re going and where you’re heading.
I set out in the professional working world with a degree in journalism, then ended up working in content marketing, and then influencer marketing and now I’m a digital project manager. Who knows where I’ll end up in my life, but I’m certainly sure I’ll be a beginner again and again and again and again. Though next time, I am taking everything I’ve learned from this experience
It has literally taken three months to feel like me again, so don’t worry if you feel like your new challenge whether it be work, life, whatever is taking its toll. Everything works out in the end!