I almost didn’t start this blog.
I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life. I love karate almost as much as I love my kids. I’ve been working on this career path for months. …And yet I almost packed it in.
When We Don’t Feel Good Enough
I had my plan in place: website, blog, YouTube channel. And then one day—mid-keystroke—I had a horrible thought:
“Who the hell is going to read this?”
At the point of writing this, I’m only a brown belt. I’m not a Sensei. I don’t own a dojo. I’m a Sempai; an underbelt; a beginner on this karate journey. I am nowhere near an expert.
And with that thought, I jumped to what seemed to me a logical conclusion:
“I’m just not good enough.”
And then I stagnated. For a good month. Okay, more like two.
We Procrastinate or Get Off Track
I’ve come to realize something:
Self-judgment is simply another form of procrastination.
Afraid of being judged by others, afraid of failure, I engaged in my own condemning judgment. Deemed myself inadequate to the task I had set out for myself. And so I stalled.
We Write Off Our Skills and Experience
I have a BA in English. A BSc in Dietetics. I used to facilitate eating disorder support groups. I helped run a family business for 14 years. I have certification as a sports and exercise nutrition coach. I’ve taken writing courses. Digital marketing courses. Videography courses. I teach karate. I compete on a tournament team. I practise three martial arts. I’m an athlete and an achiever. I have education, skills, self-awareness, and empathy. I’m an intelligent, skilled person with a hell of a lot to say and to offer.
And yet I almost wrote myself off. Because of that belt around my waist.
Until I recalled my experience at the start of my journey. As a white belt.
Remember that Liberating White Belt
I started karate at age 41. One of the oldest members of my dojo, definitely the oldest white belt, I had to learn humility from the start. The karate world is based on hierarchy, and I was clearly at the bottom. And guess what? I loved it.
As an adult, overwhelmed at times by responsibility, we feel this (often self-imposed) pressure to know everything all the time. Having a white belt, and letting go of that need to be an expert, was so liberating for me. I was a beginner. Expectations for me were low. I didn’t need to know anything. It was, in fact, better that I knew nothing. A blank slate, eager and ready to learn. To expect mistakes, to accumulate knowledge, and to grow.
Retain Your Focus with a Beginner’s Mindset
Yes, I’m only a brown belt, a beginner on this path. Relatively new to karate, definitely new to blogging, website design, and video production. But remembering that liberating white belt mindset—that ultimately got me back on track.
Stay Humble and Remember Your Worth
We don’t start off being experts. In fact, it’s probably better that we don’t.
If we can remain humble, and retain that beginner’s mindset, our trajectory for growth will be that much more impressive.
And, truthfully, we probably have a lot more knowledge and skill under those belts than we give ourselves credit for. I certainly do.
Try not to let self-judgment or a lack of “expertise” derail you. Whatever the colour of your belt, literal or figurative, you are good enough. Retain your humility, but never forget your worth, and walk the hell out of your path.
Is there an area in your life in which you don’t feel “good enough?” How can adopting a white belt or beginner’s mindset help you with this?