Suzuki writes about Beginner's Mind in meditation. It's one of my favorite books and I practice his lessons whenever I can in my personal life.
Last weekend - I practiced it for my professional self. It worked!!
I attended their Champ Camp - an intensive three day workshop for professional speakers with Patricia Fripp and Darren La Croix. I learned so many great lessons thanks to Beginner's Mind!
I've been on stages for decades - revving up employees for strategic changes, new market positioning and market launches. My clients call call me the Texas Tornado or the Energizer Bunny because I have so much energy and passion on stage.
I intentionally entered the workshop with a Beginners Mind. Yes, I've spoken for decades. But not a keynote, and not a keynote focused on Defy Gravity. So I opened my mind, dropped any thoughts of knowing about speaking - and went in with the intention of learning, learning, learning.
Thanks to Beginner's Mind, I learned!
I learned more about story telling than I ever dreamed possible. I'm a good storyteller. But thanks to beginner's mind and my fabulous coaches - I can now be a great story teller.
I learned that keynoting is a theatrical performance. How did I miss that before? I was a drama minor - had the leads in all the high school plays and musicals. I love theater. Yet I'd never thought o speaking as theater. Big A Ha folks - I get to blend my knowledge about Gravity with one of my favorite things ever - performing!
I learned about creating characters, about blocking for effect. Wow - I was back in theater school and loving every minute.
I also learned that there is a time when Beginner's Mind doesn't serve us well.
On the last day my keynote opening went really well. I was pleased - yes, I missed a few things, but overall - it was a solid performance. Not bad considering the fact that on Friday night I threw my script away and started over.
I had great feedback with ways to tune the opening. As we all know - it's never done. There will always be things to tune. But it's darned close - and I'm now in a position to finish that keynote and begin sharing it with the world!
But then the feedback turned to my content. People telling me to move things, change meanings, change focus.
That's when my Beginner's Mind rebelled.
Some of the content feedback was just plain wrong. I know my subject, I know how best to share it with people and while I may be a Beginner at keynoting, I am an expert at Gravity. I've been sharing that concept one-on-one for over a year now. I know my content - that's where I'm the expert.
The Bottom Line?
Beginner's Mind is an amazing way to prepare yourself to learn. Being able to let go of any suppositions and simply be a sponge is a gift beyond explanation.
But we must also be selective when it comes to Beginner's Mind. We all have expertise in some areas. And those areas often overlap with areas of Beginner's Mind.
This weekend I learned that even in Beginner's Mind - my Expert's Mind has a role as well. Blending the two, switching fluidly between the diverse perspectives - that's my next lesson for growth.
Do you blend the two? Any tips for how to do it efficiently? Please share!