I started this blog to try and understand why I do things, and others don’t. I think the simple reason, is that people, including me, are generally scared to do something new. Not the “oh my god the boogie man” is going to get me scared. But more of the “man I am going to look like a moron in front of all of those people” scared. The fear of failure. I know for me, that holds true. It’s just easier to keep doing what you’ve been doing because that’s what’s comfortable.
Last Tuesday, I went to a new BJJ class (during lunch at another location because I’m trying to optimize my schedule so I can start getting up earlier, but that’s an entirely different and long story) and quite honestly, I was scared. Thoughts like “I don’t know people there, they are all better than I am, and I haven’t been training on the same series they have. What if I get my butt kicked? What if it’s too hard and I fall asleep in the car and wreck?” all started swarming around in my head. You know the drill…start at an entirely legitimate concern and end somewhere in the middle of WW3.
Well, turns out, a few things were (mostly) true. I was the (second) worst in the class (only one guy below me in belt), I didn’t know anything they were working on and it showed. It was, in fact, harder than my normal class. I only knew one person there. etc. etc. etc. And you know what, it was one of the best classes I’ve EVER had and I DIDN’T DIE.
My point is that you’ve got to put yourself out there and just start! GO! Don’t hesitate any longer. By all means, prepare yourself to have an idea of what you’re doing, but you’re never going to have it all figured out. Know that nothing of value comes without great sacrifice. You’ve got to be willing to test yourself to establish a baseline, put together a plan or a list of how you will improve and have the discipline to stick to that list. I do a good deal of mentoring and coaching our roughly fifteen managers we have in our different businesses and it occurred to me that the same issues they are having were the same I’d had. Then I thought these are probably the same issues everyone faces. If I can help them get over them, maybe I can help others too!
This blog, while new, is a prime example of that. I have always felt the need to share my experiences in a form that can be broadcast out to anyone willing to read/listen. So I finally made myself sit down, write a goal of starting a blog, research that goal, put together a deadline on the steps to get it launched and stick to it. It isn’t easy. I am not naturally a good writer (as I’m sure you can all tell by now). So sketching out a post, writing, deleting, rewriting, researching, starting all over and then finally getting it to something I’m actually comfortable posting in public is very tough for me. But I know that the more I do it, the easier it gets and the better I get at it. I want the feedback and the criticism necessary to improve. And I also know that if I can get one single person to do something they never thought they could or would, it’s all worth it!
A couple of ways to combat your fears or trying new things:
- Face your fears. I know, I know- easier said than done. Ignoring your fear will only make it worse. GO AND DO IT! Take the public speaking class (my worst nightmare a short time ago). Go to the new fitness class! Ask that girl/guy to dinner! JUMP OFF A MOUNTAIN (disclaimer: DO NOT LITERALLY jump off a mountain. Make sure you do your research and have proper instruction and equipment if you are planning on paragliding).
- Think of the worst-case scenario. Generally, things are never as bad as we think they may be. Workouts- are you in worse shape than you thought? Great, you’re tired. Work harder. Did the guy/girl say no to dinner? Great, move on. She/He isn’t worth it anyway. I’m going to stop the paragliding analogy here because there is a possibility with any extreme sport for extreme danger. Again, take proper precaution before doing anything extreme.
- Do your research. Make sure you understand what you are getting into, make a list of pros and cons, and make a decision if it’s something that will help you be better at life. If it is, do the research to give you your best chance at success.
- Don’t try to be perfect. The term beginner exists for a reason. You suck at whatever it is you’re doing. That’s fine. Don’t be hard on yourself. Bad days, setbacks and overall frustration will come. That’s good. Use that fuel to push you harder next time.
- Exercise. This one really hits home for me. I have struggled with anxiety since I can ever remember (my dad used to try and pay me $20 to talk to guests at our Quail plantation and I wouldn’t dare), but have found some fantastic relief in exercise. Momentum breeds momentum, and if I can get out and push myself to hit a running goal, I can then take that momentum to have the hard phone call, write the difficult email or face whatever the issue is head on. The unparallel mental benefits of exercise help me overcome any fear by grounding me and refocusing me.
P.s. – In fact, I actually didn’t want to even post this because of the same fear mentioned above. What will people think? Is this stupid? Am I stupid? Maybe, but who cares? If one person gets something positive from this, that’s a win. I just ran about 5 miles and I feel like a million bucks. LET’S GO!