Beginner’s Mind

You know you’re getting old when the surgeon who’ll be performing your procedure, the pilot on the plane you’ve just boarded, and the accountant assigned to do your taxes all look like they just graduated from high school. For these things and others, I don’t want beginners… I want experience.

Or do I?

Experience is a good thing, as a teacher and confidence-builder. But experience can also be a curse, especially when applied to your business-thinking. Experience can hold us in old ways of doing things because that’s just the way we’ve always done it. Experience can also keep us in old mindsets and beliefs, assuming they are indisputable and forever true. It can make us long for the “good ole days” when we didn’t have to work so hard for our share of the pie, when life was easier, when the work force was more capable and dependable.

Well, I’m happy to say there is a simple cure for this curse: The Beginner’s Mind. There was a day when everything looked new to you, when you weren’t “experienced,” when you didn’t know how things were done so … you just figured how to do them yourself and you created your own “good ole days” right here in the present. In many cases, you found better, more efficient ways than ever before because there was no one there to tell you otherwise. You put your head down and worked fearlessly and hard, stayed optimistic and positive, got creative and bold. You had to … and you didn’t know any better not to. You were just naïve enough to make a go of it and become successful. Wow. What if you could bottle that and pour it back out of your current employees? What if you could pour it back out of yourself?

I remember once when I was working in a dental office and we had a hired new co-worker who was also new to the industry as well as the job. Within the first week, she was successful in selling two large cases to patients who had told us in no uncertain terms in the years before that they were either not going to do the case or weren’t ready. She didn’t know that story and so she presented the cases and they were wholly accepted to our stunned surprise.

Beginners are not tainted by rejection, previous stories, preconceived notions, or negative experiences. They believe anything is possible and bring that optimism and idealism to work and to bear on the problems and challenges put before them.

I have seen the best examples of this playing out in the annual retreats I’ve facilitated for teams where the intention was to reconnect with our beginner minds, become creative geniuses again, and create and solve that which we previously thought unsolvable. The results have been stunning. They are hands-down the most amazing work I do. After being stuck for several years, we have business and practice teams achieving or exceeding their goals this year after a “beginner’s mind” kickoff retreat last year.

As we move in to the last quarter of the year and into 2018, I encourage you to bring your beginner’s mind to your meetings, to your problem-solving, and quite possibly to a facilitated team retreat where you are plucked out of your normal surroundings, your current idea of how an annual meeting should go, and out of your limiting beliefs… and directly into an environment where all things look and feel new, where what seemed literally impossible becomes conquered, where creativity begins to flourish and new ideas begin to pop like popcorn and where old relationships are renewed in fresh and deeply meaningful ways.

Get your inspiration and excitement back again… a second honeymoon, if you will… and do it by engaging and leveraging your Beginner’s Mind.

This week, we recycled one of our most popular MMS’s from several years
ago. Our new subscribers will enjoy Katherine’s story and the lessons she took from the
experience.  And to all of our MMS readers who have been loyal

subscribers from the beginning… you’ll remember why we love seeing the
world of business and life through the eyes of The Lioness.


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki (Japanese Zen priest)