31 Jul Beginner’s Pluck


It does not matter if you are starting out, changing careers, starting a business, or having to “pivot” your business, we all need to channel our beginner’s pluck, and reading Beginner’s Pluck by Liz Bohannon was just what I needed to channel mine!

Pluck (n): Spirited and determined courage.


I have interviewed so many people, and chatted with so many entrepreneurs over the years, and there is an unrealistic pressure placed on people starting out, to have it all figured out!  The millennial culture is to tell people to “Follow their Dreams” and “Find their Passion”, but I completely agree with Liza Bohannon when she says:-

 “I think we’re got some things very wrong.  What I think was meant to be a message of encouragement and empowerment is actually creating anxiety, fear, and serious analysis paralysis.”

Throughout our lives we are asked “What do you want to do?” and “What is your dream job”?  We see our peers on social media living “their best lives”, and then when we look at our own lives, and secretly, it is nowhere near that reality, or we have no idea what job we want; and we feel like a fraud and a failure.

What I loved about Beginner’s Pluck, it that it totally dispels this myth.  The book is all about the principles behind how people really succeed- the messy, hard, brave work that goes into building the life that you want.  And what is truly liberating about this, is that anyone can build the life that they want.  You don’t have to find a dream to follow or find something to be passionate about, you just have to start.


Beginner’s Pluck is based on 14 Principles:-

  1. Own your average

“When you own your average, you start to realize that no one is thinking about you quite as much as you think they are.”  You realize that you don’t need to have any special gifts, intelligence or connections to be a success- what you need is the determination, hard work and motivation to be a success.

  1. Stop trying to “Find your Passion”

-Because you will never find it!

“Passion and purpose are not an object of desire or hidden treasure waiting to be discovered.  They are a canvas that is waiting for you to get the first splatter of paint on it…

Passion is not a pre-existing condition. 

A life of purpose and passion can’t be found. 

It is the result of being brave, curious, and a dare say, plucky?

You do not find your passion and purpose. 

You build it.”

Instead of asking “what am I passionate about?”, start with “What am I interested in?”

  1. Dream small

It’s easy to dream big.  It’s easy because dreaming big often gives you permission to procrastinate about taking any actual steps towards achieving your goal.  To be a do-er, rather than a dreamer, sometimes you just need a little dream, and you need to start doing!  “No one will ever be remembered for what they just planned to do.”

  1. Choose Curiosity over Criticism

When things go wrong in life, and they will, you can either chose to be critical and blame yourself or your circumstances; or you can be curious.  You can ask yourself why something did not work out.  You can dig deeper into why you reacted a certain way, or why someone felt differently.  You can ask curious questions that will allow you to grow.

  1. Be on Assignment in your Life

“The less you have it all figured out, the more you can learn.” 

Act like an investigative journalist in a new country, investigating a story, and change your perspective about the world around you.    Go to different places, talk to different people, ask daring questions, and look at things from all sides.  Your perspective creates your reality.

  1. Find and Replace

Replace “Solution” with “Problem”.  We are all so busy trying to find the solution, but we often don’t ask questions and find out what the problem actually is.  Sometimes, when you start asking the right questions, you may find the there are bigger, more important problems that actually need solving!

  1. Surprise yourself

Stop trying so hard to find that life of passion and purpose and allow yourself to explore and try new things.  Life has a way of unfolding as it should, and you may just find that the life you build of passion and purpose, looks nothing like the one you dreamed it would look like.

  1. Get Your Steps In

This is one of my most favourite principles.  Start.  Start today.  Start taking the steps- any steps.  Set yourself goals every week, every month.  Little goals to take action.  How many people will you call?  How many km’s will you walk?  How many YouTube videos or podcasts will you listen to or watch?  Write your goals down, and ideally get a habit tracker going.  Don’t overthink what the first step will be, and just start.

  1. Get Hooked on Making and Keeping Promises

Discipline is choosing between what we want most, and what we want now.  Building the life that you want will involve making some short term sacrifices, for long term gains.  You need to decide what your priorities are, and make yourself the promise that you will keep focused on them.

  1. Be Good with Good Enough

“Excellence is not a requisite for starting.  Excellence is something that comes with failure, iteration, and incremental steps forward.” 

Few things that you do when you start out will be perfect, or will last forever.  Too many people use perfection as an excuse for not starting…. And never actually start.  Starting today and being good, is good enough.  It is far better than never actually starting at all.

  1. Stop, Drop & WOW

Daydream.  Allow yourself the freedom to daydream about how amazing things will be when you build your life of purpose and passion.  Visualize telling people about it and how good it will feel.  You will have plenty of moments when things don’t go your way, and then the time taken to daydream, will get you through.

  1. Dream to Attract your Team

Don’t be afraid to share your dream with others.  Lots of people won’t get it, and you will face rejection, but you need people on your side who believe in you and what you are doing, and if you don’t share your dream, you won’t know who those people are.

  1. Don’t Hide from the Shadows

“The degree to which you can experience true joy and lasting fulfilment is equal to the degree to which you hold space for darkness and questions.”  Not everything on your journey to building a life of purpose and passion is going to be rainbows and unicorns, and you need the courage to walk in the darkness too.

  1. Walk One Another Home

We need to look out for one another.  You need to offer love and support to those around you, but almost more important, you need to learn to lean on others and accept help and support from them.  We are all in this crazy world together.


A two page summary will never do this witty, fun, inspiring book justice, so give it a read, or down load the audio book.  If you enjoy Podcasts, subscribe to “Plucking Up” (https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/plucking-up-with-liz-bohannon/id1514706748)