I had a conversation with a friend today who asked me if I scuba dive. I said, “no”, but my mind was screaming, “HELL NO!” I realized that most new things I am willing to try and wondered why the thought of diving freaks me out? The idea of being in open water makes me nervous, yet I will dive into open water from a boat.
My friend went on to tell me that I can learn scuba in a pool and see if I like it; so, decided that I will give that a try and see how it feels. Mind you, I am not committing to an open water dive, but I will literally get my feet wet and try something new that scares me as long as I’m in a setting that I am more comfortable with.
My past experiences trying something new for the most part have been great. But the thing that no one mentions about stretching yourself, is that it really sucks sometimes.
A particular challenge that I have faced a number of times is my fear of heights; yet, I have climbed to the top of a telephone pole, stood on top, and walked across a tightrope to another telephone pole. My body shook the entire time, but I did complete the task! Maybe not as gracefully as I had pictured, but that wasn’t the point.
Yes, trying new things is exciting and mind-expanding — and all that — but it can also be awkward and embarrassing. I’ve wondered why that is and how, when I am faced with a fear, I can be more confident moving forward… So I Googled it. 🙂
Here are a few ways to feel a little better about launching yourself into a new experience – and help you get over the hump of that initial misery to the part where it’s actually fun.
Remember that it’s ok not to love it right away
Did you know that deep in our brains there’s a primal fear of looking bad, a fear of not performing as well as others? One of the challenges with new hobbies is the fact that you’re meeting new people, new groups, new experiences, and that triggers anxiety we have about being the newcomer. In other words: Not loving it right away isn’t a sign that you’ve made a terrible mistake. It’s part of being human. Enjoyment will come as the newness fades.
Remember that no one’s paying attention to you
Are you worried about humiliating yourself in front of other people? If that’s the case, remember that those other people have actually to be watching you and in most cases, they aren’t. And they don’t care. Or maybe they are impressed that you are willing to give it a try.
Go in with the right mindset
People tend to approach a new skill in one of two ways: Some go in wanting to learn it, while others go in wanting to master it. I can easily fall into my perfectionistic mode feeling like I have to be the best. How silly is that? Learn to enjoy the journey while taking the first steps to learn the new skill.
Prepare before you start
It might be helpful to do a little prep work beforehand. You don’t have to go into the new situation completely blind and this could possibly help it to not be as intimidating.
I hope this information is as helpful to you as it is for me. It has changed my perspective on getting out of my comfort zone. Shari