“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
I would do anything if I knew I would succeed.
I walked into my office, heart pumping loudly in my ears, to give my first employee review to someone 10 years older and the age difference was equivalent to half my life. My head was filled with anxious thoughts. I was in a panic. I was facing the unknown.
For the next 45 minutes we talked, but the stress of the moment left me without one memory of what was said. Not one. I lacked the only ingredient more important than technical skill; I lacked certainty. I could not be certain of my ability to perform without previous experience of success. So, I struggled through, inadequately, and hoped for the best.
I was in my own way; I valued certainty over contribution.
Over the years, I completed countless reviews, gained confidence, and eventually found myself totally longing for something new. Meanwhile, whatever new challenge I was faced with created that unsettling anxiety, again. And so, the cycle continued.
The Two Questions that Can Transform Stepping Forward into the Unknown
You see, I was interested in my own performance. I was focused on my own success. I wanted to do a good job. I wanted to feel good about my own performance. Likewise, I want to write a good book. I want to be a good mother. My definition of good: perfect, although I was unaware of this standard. Yet, perfect does not exist and anything new is far from perfect.
Ask yourself this:
“Who are the people I can most help?”
“And, where are they?
It is the struggle, the wresting with the newness of the idea, the growth that makes me feel alive. So why is trying something new so stressful? If the beginning of something new is stressful and the repetition phase is boring, then when is the moment when we enjoy embarking on something new.
Get Out of the Way – Contribute
Every time you are stepping into something new you are growing and learning. This makes you more valuable and this allows for more contribution.
I was there to help the employee, not play judge and jury with my own perceived ability of my skill set. I was in my own way.
What if your skill could be used with a broader audience and you are concerned about your ability? Ask who are the people I can help the most and where are they? Are you talented in bringing people together? Where can that skill be best used? Are you an incredible listener, facilitator, strategist, idea generator? What is it that you do well and where can that skill be best used?
Cultivating a craft, learning, and growing all foster more potential to give. Focus on what you will be able to offer, not on your imperfections, and find the joy in your humanity.