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The art of being a beginner

Working life is pretty unforgiving for new starters - different people, unfamiliar processes, unique rules. Starting a business is even more uncomfortable for first time entrepreneurs, suddenly exposed to the vagaries of marketing or accounts and with little or no experience to fall back on. Today I made a boo-boo. It was small but it cost me money and was quick on the heels of another bookkeeping error the week before. I briefly considered ignoring it. I felt stupid pointing out yet another mistake to my accountant, and I suppose he may well be shaking his head, wondering why he didn’t become a milkman rather than help idiots like me who struggle to add up, but it’s important to remember that I’m not an accountant. I pay someone else to do the maths because I recognise it as a weakness. It’s also important to recognise that I must allow myself to make a few mistakes if I want to learn.


Discomfort is the life of a beginner, whether it’s starting a new job or launching a new business, but if we can redefine that sinking sense of uncertainty as an opportunity to learn something new or improve a skill we already have, then perhaps we can give ourselves some credit when we struggle with the unfamiliar. Everyone is a beginner on day one and it’s worth remembering that we are here because we’ve taken a risk, and that should always be applauded. Just try not to do it again.

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