Begin Again: The Beauty and Challenges of Being A Beginner Once More

Beginner taking steps in a ladder

Last Updated on November 7, 2022

It turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a ­beginner again.

Steve Jobs

In a commencement address for Stanford University, Steve Jobs narrated how he was fired from Apple. That experience will soon prove to be the turning point in his life and career. In the succeeding years, he founded NeXT Computers, then Pixar (yes, that Pixar), before finally returning to Apple after the acquisition of NeXT.

He talked about many things in that speech, but what truly connected with me was how being a beginner again brought lightness from his heavily-burdened life.

To be clear, I am not comparing myself to Steve Jobs’ success because, for me, success is subjective. What I realized is that being a beginner again can be beautiful.

Being a beginner again.

a beginner writer trying to find the right words.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

In 2019, I left my corporate job in the information technology industry. I then returned to my home province to teach and be closer to my family.

That was the first time that I changed careers and industries. However, it was still connected to my degree, which made the transition relatively easy.

I love teaching, but it finally came to a point when my long-term goals changed, so my career needed to change along with it. For the second time, I will shift to a different industry, this time in freelancing, specifically freelance writing.

I started writing in 2017, but I am far from becoming an expert. At this point in my career, I still consider myself a beginner overwhelmed with excitement and the many things to learn.

Nothing is truly wasted.

pexels photo 850216
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

The common notion is that when you change to a different industry, you are wasting everything you built up to that point – but that is far from the truth. When you change industries, you are not starting over; you’re starting from experience.

It may not be what we exerted our time and efforts in the past decade, but the change is not as drastic as it may seem.

What is truly wasteful is if we keep doing something that we don’t enjoy or love but are too deep into the rabbit hole to escape.

Money is not the priority.

person counting cash money
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Money is one of the biggest pitfalls of people trapped in the rat race. Yes, money is an essential factor in our lives, but it should never be our end-all-be-all, especially when starting.

We need to focus on how we can provide value to other people so that they will soon be willing to pay more for the service that we have to offer.

We still need to earn enough to sustain our needs, but in the beginning, we may need to accept jobs that make less but offers a great experience.

Since we are beginners again, we must understand that nothing will be served on a silver platter. We need to work hard. Besides working hard, we also need to work smart.

Remember that working hard and working smart are not mutually exclusive – they go hand-in-hand.

Plan your exit. Do it scared.

green and white male gender rest room signage
Photo by monicore on Pexels.com

It is also unwise to just blindly jump into the unknown without any cushion of safety and simply restart your career because a blogger told you so.

When I decided to change careers for the second time, I already had my emergency fund. I also know my current expenses and future projections, so I know how much I need to earn to sustain my needs and even more.

I also started my freelance writing journey even before I decided to commit to it fully. I found my first client and dipped my foot a little to get a feel.

Your journey may differ from mine, but starting over again is not as bad as it seems. It sure is scary as it should be, but it excites me more than staying where I was – I hope you do too.

Enjoy the journey. Trust the process.

colorful toothed wheels
Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

Being a beginner once again means we’re turning our backs on our current jobs. Maybe not a complete 180-degree turn, but just enough to get our complete focus on what we envision we will do.

Success is not about the end goal. It is about how our journey will change our lives and perspective. We also need to be open to the vast possibilities by taking a step towards something new.

It may take some time, but we must trust God and the process.

Journal your progress. Write down your thoughts.

photo of person writing on notebook
Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

It’s incredible how one activity becomes more manageable when done repeatedly and with focus. However, initially, our minds may be all over the place and anxious about the future or whether our decision is correct.

One proven antidote to our self-doubts and anxiety is to write them down in a journal. It may be physical or digital, but it is a good practice to put our thoughts on paper.

A journal is also a great way to view our journey and how far we’ve gone since we started. Take one step and then another. Eventually, we may not notice it, but we have already traveled far.

Find a mentor and the right community.

photo of professor teahcing his student
Photo by Vanessa Garcia on Pexels.com

Every beginner needs a mentor who will guide them when they’re starting. It can be someone you know who’s already gone through what you want to do or even someone from the Internet.

Besides a mentor, beginners also need to find the right community that can help in the transition stage. You may join several groups, then select the best one that matches your ideals and goals.

I have a community on Facebook. I have several mentors on LinkedIn and Twitter. But nothing beats the personal communication of talking with someone going through the same process as you.

I don’t know when my beginner stage will end, but I am learning a lot from various sources.

Never stop learning.

woman sitting on chair using black ipad
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Finally, we can never stop learning even if we graduate from being a beginner to moving up to the intermediate stage or even to the expert level.

What we know today may not be as relevant in the near future. So we need to invest in learning continuously. This means spending money to buy courses, workshops, and seminars, aside from the free tutorials on YouTube or Facebook.

We also need to read. Read from various topics, even those outside your target industry. It may be helpful someday.

Final Thought

Just like what Steve Jobs said, there is really a lightness in being a beginner again. It felt like the heavy coat of stress and frustrations are immediately removed from my shoulders.

Remember, as Jobs said in the same speech, we cannot connect the dots looking forward. We can only connect the dots looking backward.

Trust God in the process, but also do your part. Savor the moment as beginners, and be a sponge for learning.

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