When I decided to enroll in a coach training program, it took a while for a certain reality to fully sink in: I was going back to school. While it’s not school in the traditional sense, it pushes the same buttons. The biggest button, lit up and flashing wildly, is the “good student” button.
It’s the voice that tells me that I have to be perfect, a straight-A student. It tells me I have do research and go into unknown situations with lots of information, and know enough to teach the class before I even take the class!
So, the most important lesson I’ve learned through this training process is the value of a beginner’s mind. Your beginner’s mind approaches each experience with an open mind, free of assumptions about what you should know, what you doesn’t know, what you’re good at and what you’re challenged by.
For me, the power of this was obvious in each of the three-day classroom sessions we had at inviteCHANGE. The first day, my coaching would be relaxed and in-the-moment. With each subsequent day, as my mind was filled with experiences and self-judgment and new information, I found myself coaching more from my head and less from my heart.
The Japanese word “Shoshin” is now one of my mantras. It means “beginner’s mind” and is depicted in the calligraphy above. To me, it symbolizes release from the pressure of being perfect, or having the answers. It reminds me to look at the world and my place in it with a sense of discovery and compassion.
P.S… For more on the beginner’s mind, I recommend Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Think back to childhood and the possibility you found in your box of 64 Crayolas and a blank piece of paper. What’s going on in your life right now that would benefit from a playful, open spirit? If colors were choices, how colorful do you feel your life is? What would help you to see things more through the beginner’s eyes and mind of a child?