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Confessions of a proud beginner and recovering perfectionist

I spent my 20s desperately wanting to be the best at everything I touched. As a woman in an male-dominated industry, the need to fit in and to be seen as being as good as the boys, ruled my life both personally and professionally. In snowboarding, that meant never trying new tricks on side hits but instead focusing on going fast and charging hard in the backcountry so no one would ever have to wait for me. Professionally, it meant rarely asking for help because I had to know more than everyone else so that I didn’t have to show vulnerability. Personally, it meant dating men who had things to teach me in the mountains instead of finding actual partners who valued true connection. Creatively, it meant abandoning my paints, my singing voice, my journals because if the outcome wasn’t going to be perfect, why bother? Around my 27th birthday, I thought back on my life and on all of the things I had wanted for myself in my adulthood, all of the things I would have loved to learn, all of the experiences I didn’t yet have the chance to experience. I sat there thinking; “these are all the things I’ve ever wanted. Why didn’t I do any of them? Why didn’t I learn to mountain bike, to throw pottery, to understand that side of marketing, to throw a 540, to sing that song, to speak that language…” The list went on and on.

The truth? I didn’t want to be a beginner. I didn’t want to learn. I felt safer hiding behind my perfectionism instead of adventuring into the land of the unknown in all realms of my life. I was terrified of sucking and being left behind.

Five years later, I have spent so much time sucking. So many hours learning the hard way. So much time learning to be an average mountain-biker and climber and potter and singer and creative and partner and business owner. And these last 5 years have been some of the most rewarding of my life because as many of us intuitively know, learning is essential to human fulfillment. The growth, self-discovery and pride that we experience from finally getting it right is unlike any other feeling out there. The anticipation of starting something, followed by the presence of mind when beginning, and then the satisfaction of simply having done something we didn’t previously know how to do- it’s intoxicating.

I am now a proud beginner, a recovering perfectionist. I am a pro at sucking at most things and learning how to do things badly. I am what we call in french, a “touche à tout”, someone who wants to touch it all, simply because trying something new is the greatest gift that I’ve given myself permission to have.

So what about you? What are you beginning today? How are you giving yourself permission to live on the edge of learning?

Join me in the delicious beginner’s stage; it’s worth it.


Justine Mulliez is a Certified Professional Co-active small business Coach and the co-director of the Women in Actions Sports Network. "Beginnings" will be the topic of the month of November as we prepare to open the Membership for the community.

Within the Members Club, Justine will host a series of workshops and live sessions for the networks' members to participate in, learn from, and grow both personally and professionally.

The first session Justine will host for our community is about the importance of authenticity and owning your story. Our ability to choose our narrative is both an essential piece of building a successful mindset and of positioning yourself and your business in the industry.

If you don't miss out keep your eyes open. Registration for the membership opens Nov 1st, and it will be open for a limited time only.


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