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Have you ever been a complete beginner

I’m having an interesting experience at the moment as I learn how to swim.

Both of my last 2 big goals – running 10 back to back marathons and running 100 miles in 24 hours – although challenging, were extensions of what I could already do.

I was on familiar ground; some way along a sliding scale and all I had to do was move along a few more notches.

Swimming is different.

Because I have to get ON the scale before I can begin to move along it.

I’m a complete beginner, and I’m loving it.

It’s turning out to be such a powerful experience, that I want to recommend you have a go yourself.

Not with swimming necessarily (though it’s as good a place as any if like me you’re as aquatic as a stone), but with anything you’d like to do and currently cannot.

Learning new skills means growth.

As a beginner you have the fastest rate of learning, which means the fastest rate of growth.

In fact I’m astounded by the opportunities I have to learn things right now, as my attention is focused on them.

Yesterday for example as I prepared for my 2nd session in the pool, I noticed that I tend to faff around a lot when I’m getting ready.

Presumably in an effort to put off the inevitable moment where I climb into the pool.

I also noticed that I feel strangely intimidated.

There was a guy in my lane this morning hammering up and down doing all kinds of strange drills.

A ‘proper swimmer’.

I kept worrying that I was going to get in his way, or that he was wondering why on earth I was stopping every 2 lengths for a breather.

Everybody seemed to know what they were doing except for me which is a ridiculous thing to worry about given that I KNOW I’m a beginner and really don’t know what I’m doing just yet!

I have also noticed how the leap from swimming 50m in a pool to 2.4 miles in open water is more MENTAL than physical.

Purely from a physiological perspective I know that it’s possible, but it’s testing my power of imagination to the limits as I try and visualise myself about to start an ironman!

What’s important right now though, is that I’m on the scale.

Which means I can start to move along it.

I’m a beginner, and it feels liberating.

I’m in a rites of passage on my way to competency.

It’s easy to shy away from things we’re not very good at.

But being a beginner is the only starting point.

Whether your goals include losing weight, running faster or further, becoming stronger, getting a promotion, learning a new skill, starting a business…

Embrace the opportunity to be a beginner and commit to achieving competency