“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading up down new paths.”
“I don’t want to look stupid.” “What if I fail?” “What if it doesn’t come easily to me?”
These are generally the thoughts that pop up in my head when I even think about doing something new. Then, once I actually try the new thing, my brain is mostly yelling at me, “Noooooooo! Don’t do it! Are you crazy?!”
Cut to actually doing the new thing and my thoughts suddenly become: “oh, this isn’t so bad.” “Is this it?” “It’s hard but I think I can try this/grow in this way/etc” and “this is fun” or “I like this.”
See the VAST difference? My brain initially has survival thoughts but those thoughts, once actions, turn into positive thoughts. Thoughts that make me think about how I can improve for next time.
The unfortunate thing about fear is that it can keep us from doing all kinds of things that we want to try. And if you’re not trying new things, learning new skills, generally growing as a person then we’re staying stagnant, staying the same. That sounds pretty boring to me because that means zero progress. Staying with the “status quo” isn’t something I’m particularly a fan of. Are you?
Perfectionism is an idea I struggle with consciously and subconsciously on a regular basis. I know that I’m not perfect. That I can’t be perfect and that God designed me that way. If I was perfect, I would have no need for Him. So here I am, human, flawed. I also know that it’s okay to not be perfect. But somehow, ways to be perfect or even worse ways that I’m not, end up occupying my brain space. This kind of thinking can manifest itself in a lot of harmful ways. One of these, for me, is a fear of the new.
I don’t like change because I’ve mastered the old. I’m closer to be perfect there then what I presume I will be in the unknown. Plus, trying something new…there’s no way for me to be perfect in something I’ve never done before so why try?
I recently heard a quote and it changed my entire outlook.
“Don’t compare your first day to someone else’s one hundredth.”
The lightbulb went off. All of these people who are amazing guitar players, authors, artists, bloggers, teachers, etc etc had a first day. Just like me. The difference between us is that they went on to have a second day and a third and fourth. They were not paralyzed by the fact that they hadn’t done it before. They pushed past it, they grew, they moved forward. The went on to have a one-hundredth day and I was still at the starting mark.
Then, I decided that needed to change. I decided to go rock climbing (indoors, of course, I’m not that daring…yet).
As soon as I made the decision that I was at least going to TRY, I already felt like I could do it or at least have fun at the attempt.
Turns out, I was right. And it was amazing.
I felt strong, capable, and dare I say, brave.
It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t the best. That I had to be retaught how to belay when someone else is on the rope. It didn’t matter that there were experts around me. It wasn’t embarrassing (like I thought it would be) that I didn’t know everything there was to know or that after a while, my arms were shaking and I could no longer pull myself up. Because I was trying and I feel like that’s all we can really ask of ourselves.
The harshest critic is ourselves. Not one person looked at me and thought, “that girl does not know what she’s doing, why is she here?”. And if they did, who cares? I’m trying. And if I give my best, what else is there?
Tips if Trying Something New Scares the Crap Out of You
Get into the right mental state and give yourself a break! You are trying something new. That in itself is hard so whether you succeed at the “new thing” or not, you’re trying and that’s a success all into itself.
Do some research. Find out what you need or where you need to go to try this new task/activity/skill. Being prepared helps me cause any anxious thoughts that are coming up because I will know where to go and I’ll have what I need.
Take a friend with you. When I decided to go rock climbing, I invited my most encouraging, courageous friend. I knew she would be willing to try something new with me and I was sure that she would be on the other side of the rope encouraging me if not pushing me along.
Take deep breaths. Unless you’ve discovered something crazy different, what you’re about to try is something a lot of people have tried and probably mastered. There are a lot of people to support you, who understand this particular journey, AND who have survived whatever it is you’re about to embark upon.
Know your limits. Don’t try too much too fast. Start out slow, with a baby step. Then if you can, up the difficulty a little bit but remember to have patience with yourself. You aren’t going to master it in a day.
Have fun. You are stepping out and growing and trying something new. Even if you hate it, just being willing to put yourself out there is an incredible feat unto itself.
Lastly, remember my all time favorite quote:
“Don’t let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.”
What about you? Tried something new lately or too scared to? Let me know in the comments below!
Remember to be brave,