The Benefits Of Keeping A Beginner’s Mind by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

One of the side effects of becoming an expert or an experienced professional in any type of career is being seen as the person with all the answers. This can also occur in a personal relationship. It creates a kind of expectation for the individual to always know what to do, how to do it, and to have all of the knowledge required on the specific subject.

While there are some perks to this, it is also very limiting. It makes it difficult for the “expert” to be able to be curious about something in her or his field of expertise. It may make it very difficult to have an open mind and a willingness to explore options and outside-the-box ideas and suggestions.

To avoid getting backed into the corner of being the expert or the authority on a particular subject, cultivating a beginner’s mind and approach to working with the team is essential. A beginner’s mind is one that is open to possibilities, is curious about the potential, and that encourages others to provide information, ideas, and suggestions.

Letting Go

Adults and professionals are not blank slates. They have training, years of experience, and they may also be locked into a way of doing things or approaching issues that have developed over time.

To get out of this mindset, letting go of all of those preconceptions is the first step. Challenging your thinking if you find yourself mentally noting:

  • That is not the way we do it here
  • That is never going to work
  • This can’t possibly be effective
  • This is not as efficient as the current operation/protocol/practice

Being open to just considering ideas and suggestions is a beginner’s mindset. By avoiding these types of pre-judgments and preconceived notions, we open up our thought process to the potential of the new idea or suggestion.

This is not to say that every new idea or suggestion is better than what you currently think, do, or use. Instead, it allows you to be curious about the possibilities and potential.

Be Present

Kids are in the moment and present whenever they are learning. They look at details, pay attention to what is happening before their eyes, and focus on every aspect of the thing they are learning.

As adults, we often get into a rut or a habit in how we do things. This limits our ability to see the details and to experience the task. Turning this around and being mindful in these daily activities can help us to become more efficient, to develop different practices, and to remain positive and goal-focused in everything we do.