I’m a grown woman. How can doing something new still make me squirm like a four year old with a full bladder?
There’s a thing I’ve been thinking about doing for most of a year. A new strand of work that will get me out of the house during the day sometimes and into the company of – gasp – other people. For most of a year, I’ve thought about it, even talked about it a bit, and thought about it some more. I even knew the first step: a simple phone call to arrange a venue. That would commit me and I’d have to follow through.
And I did nothing. For all that time.
Then yesterday I was suddenly heartily sick of going around and around the same mental loop. Plus, I need work. Those two things together made me sit down and reach for the phone.
I didn’t actually pick it up and dial, though. Oh no. I explored the website of the organisation I was about to call. I made tea. I jotted down some more notes about my ideas. I got toys out for the baby who was coming to visit that afternoon. In short, I did everything I could to put it off.
Yes, I was nervous. Of a simple phone call. What if I was wrong? What if they said no? (Even more anxiety-inducing, what if they said yes?) What if my idea was stupid?
Butterflies in the tummy, shallow breathing – surely I can’t be the only person who appears not to have grown out of the fear of putting my hand up in class only to be laughed at for getting the answer wrong?
Actually, I know I’m not. In the past I’ve worked with some very competent people, respected and very knowledgeable. Two of them, leaders of unconnected organisations, stand out in particular because they both confessed to me that they still had a little gremlin on their shoulder whispering, “one day they’ll find you out…” I’d like to think that even they, with all their wisdom and experience, have sat in front of a phone that seemed to glower at them, trying to get over the fear of picking it up and making that call. I’d like to think that because it makes me feel less like a nervous kid who doesn’t know what to say!
In the end I did it because I was fed up and I ran out of procrastination ideas and I was expecting a friend (and baby) to arrive in a few minutes.
Of course it was a piece of cake. I know how to hold a conversation, I knew what I was asking, and I know how to run my business. And they said yes. Provisionally, at least. I have to make another phone call today but now the first one’s out of the way that doesn’t matter at all.
If there’s something you’re putting off, I hope you’ll take heart from this and just do it. Even if it doesn’t work out how you hoped, at least you’ll have done it and you can move on and do the next thing. And even if your hand continues to hover over the phone and you can’t bring yourself to take the plunge, at least you know you’re not the only one!
Or is it just me?