Trying Something New

For me, creating and launching a web site is like going to a new country without knowing the language or the roads and trying to accomplish something while I am there. I’m not good at languages; am worse at directions, and in any new place, including the internet, I’d rather browse.

I came up against what many of us do when we try to do something new: anxiety, unhelpful and distorted ideas such as, I simply can’t do this, and an artful ability to procrastinate. Working with people, I see that many of us have to keep balancing our desire to do something new against our fears. Fear can be a convincing foe, convincing us of our inadequacy or the uselessness of our goal. We can get expert at arguing against ourselves and our best interests.

We’re labeled as a culture of people too immersed in self interest, a me culture. Yet listening to men and women, young and old, doctors, attorneys, business people, mothers, teenagers, and couples, I do not hear a lot of people focused on “me” in terms of learning how to take care of themselves, and clarify and achieve their goals.

Fear and a misunderstanding of it, and a misunderstanding of a lot of other emotions, is part of the reason people do not focus on themselves in a healthy way. We’re afraid of not feeling good as though we can’t deal with that. We’re afraid of uneasiness, of not being liked, of not doing well, and though those fears are rational to a degree, if we let them get out of hand, we can get addicted to comfort and the safest kind of competence. We’ve developed a culture in which there’s a danger of trying to medicate discomfort away even though uncomfortable feelings can be part of what tells us that there is something that we have to face, or that it is time for us to try something new and to grow.

Part of my love for the work I do is that I get to see people’s resilience, courage, and efforts to deal with their discomforts so that they can use themselves more fully, and be “me” focused in ways that can actually be helpful to them and others.

People who work through their rational but often exaggerated and distorted fears of doing something new — creating a web site, going to a new country, starting a new relationship or business –may transform the energy of the fear into something forward moving. If they do, they  will likely be kinder and more realistic about other people’s fears rather than just saying, “Get over it,” or “Oh that’s nothing.”

I hope that this web site and blog resulting from my attempt to learn some new skills and deal with my fear of doing so, will offer something to others. If you e mail me I will do my best to respond in a personal e mail or blog.

This article was posted on March 30th, 2011

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