How to Know When it’s Time to Shed Your Beginner’s Mindset

Shawn Fink
9 min readAug 1, 2023

When I’m coaching a founder who is looking to grow and uplevel their business or authority but is stuck in fear over making mistakes, I love to share my origin story of how 12 years ago I built a 40K follower base on Facebook and ran an 8-year international membership community — without much of a strategy.

I mean, I had some strategy. I had plenty of brilliant ideas.

But, back then we didn’t have all these online business rules and frameworks that are sold to us at every turn or scroll.

We just got big, beautiful ideas in our heads and made them happen.

In other words, we lived and led by what I call The Brave YES Mindset.

Then, suddenly a bunch of gurus and experts came on the scene to tell us what we were doing wrong, and what we could do better and all the not enoughness set in.

I became flattened by overwhelm, perfectionism and exhaustion.

The result is that, for years, despite having a successful 6-figure business, I felt like a beginner despite having more experience and more revenue than others.

I kept falling for the message that I could have more, be more, do more if only I would do X, Y or Z (name any tactic being sold to us!).

I spent years searching for the magic bullet to take my business to the next level, to take myself to the next level. The magic bullet of copywriting. The magic bullet offer. The magic bullet planning system. The magic bullet sales strategy. The magic bullet social media system.

I spent years hiring others to help me — the beginner, the newbie who needed others to tell her what to do and how to do it, the one who didn’t know enough so she had to keep buying and buying what others were selling.

And yet, in every course, program or room I was in, I knew more than the speaker. I knew more than the coach. I knew more than the guru.

So why wasn’t I on the stage speaking?

Why wasn’t I the one leading the business program?

Why wasn’t I the one bragging about my brilliance?

This is because I was mired in the Beginner’s Mindset for far too long.

It was only when I made the shift into Expert Status that I was able to start taking myself seriously so that others could do the same.

It was only when I stopped to tune in to myself and my inner wisdom that I saw authentic success and true growth.

This is the same shift my clients need to make when we work on growing their businesses and their identity to make more money and experience their kind of true success.

  • You’re not just a consultant, you’re a transformational leader.
  • You’re not just a solopreneur, you’re a visionary.
  • You’re not just a business owner, you’re an expert in your industry.

It’s time to start acting like the expert you are.

How does Beginner’s Mindset Show Up on the Daily?

For me, Beginner’s Mindset kept popping up by feeling like I didn’t know enough, that I needed to keep implementing new tactics or changing up my offers. That belief system led me to sign up for group programs that gave me false promises about making money in my business.

More money, they said.

More fame, they said.

More followers, they said.

What I learned: When MORE is the only focus, we lose our focus and purpose.

Common themes I see of those stuck in Beginner’s Mindset:

  • buying countless e-courses to “learn more”
  • keep getting more and more education and certifications
  • researching and researching to the brink of overwhelm
  • waiting on perfect conditions, until you are finally where you need to be
  • following more than leading
  • listening more than talking
  • Shrinking and not taking up space

When you are stuck in Beginner’s Mindset, you are looking at the world, your role and identity and your business from the lens of not knowing enough, not being enough, not having enough.

That means you aren’t leading.

You are following.

Why is a Beginner’s Mindset so Detrimental to Your Success?

As long as you believe others have more power than you, more clout, more wisdom, you will second guess yourself and self-doubt is a trap that keeps you small.

Inside you know you have what it takes to be the one on stage, be the one leading, be the one out there in the limelight, but there’s something holding you back.

Beginner’s mindset.

It keeps you small.

It keeps you hidden.

When is it time to let go of Beginner’s Mindset and Step into Expert Status?

This is, of course, the secret sauce question.

For everyone, timing will vary and be fully personal. There is no just-right moment that we all slide into. It’s not like we become an expert with exactly 3 years and 6 months of experience. You have a lifetime of experiences that have led to this moment in time. They all count. Every single one of them — even that hustle that was taking orders in the drive-thru at McDonald’s.

The best way to figure out when it’s your time to move into Expert Status is to ask yourself a few questions:

Do you feel like you could stand on stage and lead a crowd?

Do you feel like you know more than others in your industry — or at least as much?

Do you have a slate of clients or customers and easily make ends meet in your business?

If you said yes to some or all of these, you are already an expert in the making and ready to move into Expert Status.

But, if you are still gathering up material, copying others and putting your ideas together in a way that feels connected to you and your work, perhaps you are truly in Beginner’s Mindset.

The trouble here is you have to rise above survival mode and do the work to see a new perspective about where you are and how you can lead. Coaching can be a great help for this. Once you zoom out and see your identity and possibility more clearly, you can start to take the actions necessary to step out of beginner mode.

To move into Expert Status, you need to embrace your inner Brave YES Leader. This is the work I do with my clients. We shift the energy and focus of not enough, not good enough into emPOWERed leader and visionary.

Turning beginners into experts who stand strong in their authority and brilliance is my favorite work to do with my clients who are almost all people pleasers and playing too small and not making enough money as a result.

Once you shift into Expert Status, you can do anything, you can be anything, you can handle anything.

You can go LIVE and lead your people. You can lead without followers. You can dream bigger because you believe in yourself. You can write that course or program. You can coach or mentor. You can ask for more money.

Until you reach that point, Beginner’s Mindset will keep you small — smaller than you know you could be or should be.

To play bigger, you must believe in yourself.

You must believe in your ridiculous, outrageous, brilliant ideas.

You must believe in your ability to deliver.

5 Daily Practices to Help You Step Into Expert Status

Play to your unique core strengths.

Your strengths are your superpowers.

Your strengths are what will carry you through these hard times.

Your strengths are what have already carried you through and are what will always set you apart as the leader you are.

So why do you focus so much on your weaknesses?

>>>>> Learn more about playing to your strengths here.

Stay rooted in who you are and in your Brave YES Edge

One of my superpowers as a business coach is having a sixth sense around what will sell. I wish I could bottle this into a formula but not all things need to be sold as an eCourse or a template.

Mostly because the process to getting to this point is idea and visioning alchemy.

Your Brave YES Edge is what sets you apart.

But, it’s not your service or offer. There’s hundreds of web designers or burnout specialists and coaches.

There’s only ONE YOU.

Your Brave YES Edge is not your offer or service but what you bring to the experience, what you create during the exchange.

It’s part positioning. It’s part branding. It’s part expertise. It’s what will get people to call you up and ask you to be on stage.

When you find your Brave YES Edge, it’s vital to protect it. It’s your biggest asset.

>>>> Need help finding your Brave YES Edge? Let’s chat. I offer private business strategy & courage coaching for a limited number of founders. Learn more and book a FREE exploratory call here.

Invest in your support and capacity.

Most of the confidence building work I do in my courage coaching for visionary founders and consultants begins with capacity and support.

Support is NOT the same as help.

With the right support, your ideas will thrive.

With the right support, you will have the energy to see things all the way through to fruition.

Lack of quality support leads to burnout and exhaustion — and big dreams don’t happen when we’re exhausted.

Firmly believe in your innate self-worth and value

A study out of the University of Buffalo in 2020 found that those who see their self worth and have it tangled up in their net worth tend to be more socially isolated and lonely. So, while they were so busy trying to earn more money, more money, more money, they actually were cutting themselves off from other important channels that could improve or sustain a positive mental health outlook.

Maybe you’ve been experiencing this as well as an entrepreneur since it’s really hard not to see your value in relation to the income you earn.

It’s even harder when there is so much attention being put to six, seven and eight figure businesses, which doesn’t necessarily mean you get paid a six-figure salary, by the way. Many high income business owners have a lot more overhead and aren’t taking home much of anything, let alone what they would like.

Because revenue is a strong piece of evidence that your work matters, especially these days, it is often tangled up in your self-worth. The more money you make the more valued you feel. The less money you make, the less valued you feel.

This is a depressing way to see yourself.

Only once you can see and know your own innate self-worth, can you relay that to others in a way that will take you and your business to the next level.

>>>>> Read more about how to untangle your self-worth from your bank account here.

Practice being a leader

“Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.” — Alexander Hamilton

Silence is violence, we say.

Speak up and let your voice be heard, we say.

These days we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves and what we believe, what we stand for and what we are all about is everywhere.

But it’s also a result of following what others are saying, what others are doing.

The state of our future relies on YOU putting your genius out into the world — whether that is in speaking up and speaking out, your ideas, your services, your art or your energy, your products, your offers, your voice.

>>>>> You can do this by taking up space on social media or on stage.

Say YES before you are ready

I think back to the times in my life when I said YES to myself, to something that called me and I can’t think of a time I regret.

Every YES was a game changer.

From writing a book and self-publishing, to launching a free email course to traveling across the country solo to attend an amazing conference and put my feet in the freezing Pacific Ocean for the first time.

I haven’t found one yes to lead me astray.

Think back to the times in your life when you said Yes — and by YES I am talking about the Brave Yeses, the kinda scary but liberating and exciting ones.

Not just any yes but the yeses that were meaningful, purposeful and expansive to your life and work.

As busy female founders and creatives, it’s easy to say no to ourselves.

We like our noes.

But I have learned that saying yes can change everything.

And by that I don’t mean to other people’s yeses.

I mean to the deep desires that live inside of us.

When we give ourselves permission to explore our own brave yeses and say yes to ourselves, we’re opening the door to our own higher purpose, our own meaningful lives.

Are you ready? Let’s do this! Join the waitlist for my upcoming Brave YES Power Squad, a 3-month group coaching program for highly ambitious founders, consultants and CEOs.

Originally published at on August 1, 2023.



Shawn Fink

I help wholehearted entrepreneurs be #BusinessBrave and start taking up more space and running your biz on your terms.