“We must dare to suck if we truly wish to engage with life and learn new things.”

I was in my figure painting class recently, in a group of women all over 40, when the instructor suggested to a fellow student she try a different approach. The student agreed. She erased her painting, started all over again, and said, in a loud voice that echoed across the studio, “You gotta dare to suck.”

When I heard that, a huge smile made its way across my face and I felt a tremendous amount of joy surge through me. Yes!

Dare to Suck

We must dare to suck if we truly wish to engage with life and learn new things. As adults, we so often think we must get something right on the first try, or at the very least, we wish to not be seen in a state of incompetence and judged negatively by others. But there is inherent risk in trying on something new—it might not work, we might not instantly achieve the results we wish for.

It takes courage to step into something new, whether that’s a new approach to painting, a new way to communicate with your organizational team, a new practice to take on with your life partner, or a new way to show up with your child.

How many times did we practice walking and fall before we learned to be mobile? How many times did we painstakingly practice writing each letter of the alphabet before learning to write?

Yet most of us live with the assumption that adults need to get it right from the first try. This belief, this cultural undercurrent, makes “sucking” a challenge. And we often collapse the normal “suckiness” of beginner results into beliefs like, “I don’t do that,” “I can’t do that,” or “That’s not me.” In other words, we infuse ourselves with stories about our inherent nature, rather than accept that “suckiness” is part of learning!

The problem is that if we are not allowed to have beginner results that aren’t perfect, and we blame our own lack of innate capacities, then we end up limiting our engagement with life over time. And so a world filled with possibilities, of exploring everything from rock climbing to figure painting to writing a blog post, can become a limited experience of simply repeating the same old thing.

So, I double dare you! Jump in and dare to suck! See if you can actually enjoy the messiness, the mistakes, the awkwardness, and the discomfort.

As we say in Newfield, learning—true learning—is often accompanied by discomfort. The discomfort is an indicator that we are entering into new territory. If we can befriend this discomfort, if we can befriend “sucking” and not having our results be perfect on the first try (or maybe even the 7th or 10th), chances are we may encounter and experience enthusiasm, awe, and joy as we engage at the beginning of something new.

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About the Author: 

Veronica Olalla Love, M. Ac., NCC, PCC is the Global CEO for the Newfield Network. She is also an international facilitator for the Newfield Network Programs and is the lineage holder for the Newfield Network’s ontological coaching tradition. In her unique and passionate style, Love invites us to remember the depth of potential we have as evolutionary beings.

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