What Are You Afraid Of?
Over the past few weeks I have been calling potential voters in support my favorite candidate for U.S. Representative. This past weekend I even went door-to-door to share her views and garner support in the primary election.
These are not my normal behaviors. I actually do not like calling on the phone. I do not like pitching most anything. I don’t like to upset people. All of these will happen if you spend 8 hours making phone calls. And a weekend knocking on doors.
Eleanor Roosevelt is given credit for the quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you”. I’m covered for the past two weeks.
Why would this be good advice? For me, doing something that makes me uncomfortable pushes me out of my self-limited thinking about my capacity. Being really uncomfortable changes our perspective about what really is uncomfortable what isn’t. I said that I do not like calling on the phone. That is a narrative I’ve carried for a very long time. However, after having done this activity to support a political candidate, I am finding it much easier to pick up the phone to make a request of peers for help or making a sales call, which is a necessary part of my job. Given the new perspective, I am going with a new narrative.
In the same way, for example, when we visit with people having customs and behaviors different from our own, we might call it uncomfortable. However, after having done so, we often feel more open-minded and thoughtful about people and behaviors, in general, than we did before.
Doing something that makes us afraid does not have to be handling snakes, jumping out of an airplane or even calling potential voters. Doing something that we wouldn’t normally choose to do will continue to change and broaden our perspective—often in ways we cannot predict.
Consider setting a meeting with a senior person in your organization; go to lunch with someone you don’t know well--but want to. Visit someone who is ill. Learn a new skill. Do some public speaking. Take on a project at work in a new area. Support your local candidate.
When you face a boundary of fear, step into it and cross to the other side.