On Beginning Again

Emily, our BIN editor, picks Brooke's brain on fresh starts

We talk a lot of talk around here about the beauty and promise and excitement of new beginnings, but just to be clear: we walk the walk, too. Brooke herself has had more blank-slate, starting-from-square-one moments than she can count and knows how to embrace the butterflies and banish the self-doubt. Yes, sometimes it involves pep talks into the mirror. (Come on—we’ve all done it.)

Let’s begin, well, at the beginning.

“I’ve had so many beginnings. I feel like I just keep beginning! I’ve begun, begun, begun, begun. Going to college, doing Broadway, writing a book, getting married, oops, getting married again, having children, starting this website. All these things can represent complete shifts in what you know in your life to be true one moment. You veer a little bit..and all of a sudden you’re on a completely different trajectory.” 

And Beginning Is Now is another one, huh?

“I actually think that this is the biggest new beginning for me, in a way. A lot of beginnings in my mind have a completion—you know, you go to college, that’s four years, and that’s it. But this is slightly daunting to me because of the magnitude of it. I’ve never really done anything on my own in business—and putting something out there can be scary. But you have to say yes—it’s so important, even not knowing necessarily what’s going to happen.” 

Sounds...hard.

“Don’t begin with all the things you think can go wrong! Don’t begin with the negatives. ‘This is going to be really hard,’ or ‘What do you think you’re doing,’ or ‘You can’t’—you know, all the things we say to ourselves because we’re afraid of failing or looking stupid. We would never accomplish anything! I have to remind myself not to start with that.”

So, what do you start with when you’re embarking on something new?

“I have to get up really early and ritualize my morning. I like to get up when the house is quiet, make my tea, and do something that centers me or calms me down. I like to make a little list about the things that are exciting to me or possible to me about this new beginning.”

Don’t you ever get scared?

“Of course! When I went to my first rehearsal for Broadway, which was basically an audition, I had to excuse myself to the bathroom and almost threw up. But I looked in the mirror and said, ‘What are you going to do, run away? Don’t judge yourself before you get out there.’ I have to think about the things that excite me about a possibility, and go in there with that feeling—rather than, ‘Oh, you’re not going to be good enough.’”

Okay, let’s talk pros instead of cons.

“I love going into an environment of completely new people and knowing that I’m going to walk away from the experience with at least one new, good, interesting friend in my orbit. Or knowing that I’m going to learn a new skill. I just learned how to knit in a movie I did! I like being put to a challenge. Turns out I don’t like being in my comfort zone.”

Any new beginning words of wisdom?

“Be willing to not know all the answers and keep going forward. Don’t let doubts hinder you. Learn as much as you can going into it, and have blind faith in yourself and it. Ask more questions, and learn from people around you. Do not be afraid to say you don’t understand something. Learn! I’ve never been afraid of looking stupid. I’m like, ‘Okay, what do I need to know to get this done?’ And by the end of it, I get it.”

Thanks, Brooke!

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