GUEST POST- Taryn Nergaard
School subjects always came easily to me. I was the teacher’s pet who you’d scowl at from your desk because I’d raise my hand too often and rarely get an answer wrong. Through my years of schooling I knew I could go into any test, pop quiz, or in-class essay and walk away with at least a B with no preparation. Most often, I’d receive an A.
I was proud of my natural intellect. My brain is wired for information retention—the foundation for excelling in academics. But life isn’t a textbook of information I can memorize; life is full of unknowns that I can’t prepare for.
How do I decide without all the information? How do I move forward when I don’t know the outcome?
These questions paralyzed me with fear and kept me from stepping outside of what was familiar. I knew I wanted to do something impactful with my life, but fear of failing or looking foolish always kept me from trying something new. My teen years felt hollow, and I struggled with anxiety and depression.
At nineteen years old, I became a Christian. I remember feeling a strong sense that I would be okay no matter what. That Jesus loved me unconditionally and would be with me giving me courage I didn’t know was possible.
It still scared me when I stepped outside my comfort zone, but I did it anyway. Instead of chickening out of my life, I began chickening IN.
It was terrifying and beautiful at the same time.
Being someone who uses knowledge to feel safe, these new experiences forced me to be an amateur rather than an expert. It takes courage to be a beginner. It requires humility and vulnerability to risk looking foolish.
A few years ago I experienced that feeling of foolishness and I ran from it. I was blogging about faith and living with purpose when I launched life coaching services. I knew little about coaching, and what I knew was wrong. Two realizations occurred:
- I didn’t know how to coach people.
- People weren’t hiring me.
As quickly as I launched those services, I removed them. I felt like a failure, and without verbalizing it aloud, I vowed never to be a life coach.
So in 2020, when I sensed God whispering to my heart that it was time to be a life coach, I felt tremendous shame around it. I had already failed at it once, so what would make this time different?
But this time was different because I was different.
Instead of taking God’s whisper as a sign that I should jump right in with both feet, I humbly recognized my shortcomings and registered for a life coaching certification program. Being in a virtual classroom with no previous skills caused me anxiety, but I knew I needed to learn these skills if I wanted to be faithful to God’s direction. I also knew I wanted to serve my potential clients well and make a positive impact.
I went into the course as a true beginner—I wasn’t great at active listening, and I didn’t know how to ask powerful questions. I left the course still a beginner—I had theory and some practice, but I needed real-life coaching clients to master the skills I learned.
Even now, with over a dozen clients and almost one hundred hours of coaching under my belt, I recognize I’ll always be a beginner in this field. Each client I work with is a unique human being with a unique story. No matter how skilled I am, the challenge of being a coach is that I need to adapt to what each client needs.
Five years ago, knowing that I might never master my chosen career would’ve kept me from starting (and it did, for a time). Now, I see being a novice as an opportunity; I get to continue to learn and grow. When we see ourselves as experts, we close ourselves off to new possibilities.
In Matthew 18, Jesus said,
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3-4)
Children are beginners who learn new things all the time. I hope we can all have the same courage.
Where in your life do you see yourself as a beginner? How might you challenge yourself to become a beginner by learning something new?
Take Courage Today,
About Taryn – she is the author of the Reflective Bible Journals and a life coach with a passion for helping people calm the chaos, quiet their souls, and find the clarity to move forward. Taryn lives in British Columbia, Canada with her husband and four kids. When she’s not homeschooling or working, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book or curled up on the couch binge watching her current favorite show. She loves to connect on Instagram (@tarynnergaard) and through her weekly Growth Notes (tarynnergaard.com/newsletter).
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