Black Belt Leader as Beginner: Part One


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki


The cultivation of “beginner’s mind” is essential to the development of the Black Belt Leader; it’s key. Because the beginner’s mind is an “open system”; it can expand; it can be receptive to whatever challenges come its way; it can discriminate too all valuable Black Belt Leadership qualities. We as experts, though, live in what might be called a “closed system.” We repeat what we know again and again in a rigid or predicable manner. We’re the ones with the “right” answers who respond to questions in a Western gunslinger, quick-draw fashion. We pull routinely from the same bag of tricks. It’s a movement outward into the world that is fixed and habitual with very little alteration. Why would we attach ourselves to such a limited point of view? Because it’s comfortable; it’s known, and perhaps, in our minds, we believe it's safe, secure and reliable. Our attachment to being the expert may simply be a reaction to our fear of the unknown.



I’m suggesting that as “Black Belt Leaders in the Making” we can acknowledge our own expertise, but it’s best not to become too identified with this kind of understanding. Why? Because it’s not the whole story. What we believe we know, whether we’re aware of it or not, is always changing. We will never fully grasp the whole story. Life, from my experience, fundamentally is a mystery. For some, this is a frightening consideration. For others, it is an invitation to grow: the more we find out, the more we discover how much we don’t know! Be willing to accept the opportunities that arise in your life, to take reasonable risks (without requiring a guaranteed outcome), and to embrace change, i.e. the movement or flow of life, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true Black Belt Leadership master.