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Why you shouldn’t be afraid to be a beginner (no matter how embarrassing it is)

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There exists a strange duality when it comes to discovering you have a talent for something. On one hand, you are excited to cultivate your newfound skills either by frequent practice or consuming advice online.

However, as a beginner, you are afraid to showcase your budding talent because you are fearful of negative feedback.

So you are stuck, secretly harboring this secret talent without letting it see the light of day.

I’m not a personal life coach, but if I were to venture a guess, I’d say the only way for you to grow your budding talent is for you to overcome your fear of practicing in the public’s eye.

We all have to start somewhere.

A coworker of mine fell in love with photography a few years back. I’m no photography critic, but I can tell she has a knack for it. I’ve seen some of her work and she has this amazing capacity to capture beautiful candid moments.

She considers herself an amateur, self taught through YouTube, whose only subjects have been family and friends.

I asked what she was doing to grow her skills and practice her craft. She’s expressed interest in leaving her full-time job to become a freelance photographer.

There’s a workshop at a local filmmakers studio which she wants to attend. A potential hotbed for feedback and growth, my coworker still can’t seem to muster the confidence to go.

It’s weird, I know this would be a huge opportunity for me. But I’m afraid of showing my photography to people who are so much more experienced than me.

At least she is self aware enough to understand where her fear stems from. Most people ignore it and never try to neutralize it.

However, she still struggles to realize that all those “experienced” photographers were once in her position when they started. They only got to where they are today because they stepped up and showcased their talent to the world.

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out. As it turns out, you have a slight advantage because you are new.

The ultimate advantage of being a newbie.

maninhoodie2I launched my very first business a few weeks ago (coincidentally to help people like my coworker). It means I’ve entered the entrepreneurial world, which I hear is quite harsh at times.

I’m scared sh*tless.

I’ve never run a business before. Sure, I’ve dabbled in small ventures like my blog and writing a book, but nothing to this scale.

I’m scared because I’m new, I’m raw, I’m defenseless. Like a newborn, I cling to what makes me feel safe and comfortable.

But I’m not a newborn, I’m a grown man, with a family to feed and a dream to conquer. I know I’m about to enter into one of the greatest trials of my life. But as a budding entrepreneur, I’d rather feel the pain of trying now versus feeling the pain of regret of not trying years later.

It’s this fear of regret that pushed me to start a business. And so far it’s not that bad.

It’s okay to feel afraid when you step out into the public space with your budding talent. What’s not okay is letting that fear hold you back.

You don’t realize it, but you’re actually in a terrific spot. You are still at the stage where you are unknown. For the most part, humanity is kind enough to praise those who try. If you are afraid of any harsh criticism, realize that people probably won’t bother because negative people like to bring down folks who are a few pegs ahead of them.

In other words, as a newbie you’re relatively safe.

Yes, telling your coworkers you run a blog about artisanal cider making might come as a shock to them, but just own it and run with it.

For years I hid the fact from people that I wasn’t happy with the engineering/analytical career path I found myself on. Instead I wanted to build a career around my passion for creating new things. Blogs, books, videos, businesses.

Then one day I started telling the truth and soon things started to change. People believed me and to be honest, I started to believe in me too.

Are you afraid to show your budding talent because of what people might say? Or are you afraid because you realized this is who you really want to be?

What happens now?

When you show your budding talent to the world three things happen:

1. You beat all the other people who are afraid to show their talent

2. You inspire others who are afraid to show their talent

3. You initiate the growing process sooner

You need discipline, motivation, feedback, and guidance to grow. None of these can be completely acquired by yourself. The idea of the loan artist is a farce. A masterpiece doesn’t hang in a closet for no one to see. It’s out, in the open.

The degree and method for practicing in the open will vary on the talent you have. For writers, blogs are a great way to start practicing and sharing your ideas with the world. For artists, donating your work to local coffee shops is a great way for exposure.

So whether your dream is to build a company or change careers, you must find a way to get your talent in front of others. It will feel uncomfortable and unnatural, but this is the refining fire you will need to move forward. Like a clay pot, you must first be cast into the kiln to be useful.

Get out there and showcase that budding talent!

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No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.

Written by Declan Wilson

Declan Wilson is the founder of SHRPA, a membership site devoted to helping people clarify, plan, and execute their goals. You can find more of his writings at his blog or connect with him on Twitter or Instagram.

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