It’s now been over a week – 9 days – and I have done 9 new things. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about this in a way that would be helpful, interesting and more than just a laundry list of what I’ve been doing. The focus of this blog has been about overcoming fear to do whatever you have dreamed of doing, big or small. With that focus, I am framing this challenge as something that I was afraid to do, but am doing anyway.
Before I started the challenge, I set an intention.
My intention is to have fun, expand my comfort zone by doing things that scare me and to experience the magic of the Universe by stepping out at times on faith.
That last piece is very personal to me as it reflects a bit of my spiritual beliefs and basically just represents me letting go and letting my intuition guide me as I choose the new things and also letting go of the expectations I have of what each new thing will be like.
So far, I am staying true to my intention and I am learning a lot about myself and each new thing I try with each day that I do this. Instead of just giving you a list of the 9 things that I did this past week, I am going to mention four of the new things I tried and then share the top things I learned by doing them.
1. When you show up for one thing without expectations, you likely get way more than you could have imagined.
I took a guided tour at my city’s fine arts museum. I’ve been to this museum many, many times before and never took a tour. I chose the “highlights tour” figuring that it would give me a good overview and I made sure that I didn’t have any expectations and kept an open mind. Well, the tour was fabulous and the tour guide was excited and knowledgeable. I learned so much more about the museum than I had learned before and even ended up in rooms that I didn’t even know existed. I even made a new friend during the tour and we ended up walking around the museum after the tour talking and exploring together
2. Never underestimate the confidence building power of doing seemingly little things that scare you.
I cook every week, but it’s usually the same things that I feel pretty comfortable making. For some reason, I’ve felt nervous about cooking new things in the past. Worrying about making a mistake or getting it “wrong” has often kept me from trying new recipes. So this past week I made two new things! Stuffed tomatoes and a tuna burger. Trying these new recipes made me more nervous than terrified, but what I found was that the confidence boost I felt after I made those two dishes was way more intense than the slight nervousness I felt before I made them. It was like I put in a nickel’s worth of fear and got out a quarter’s worth of confidence!
3. Sometimes magical and exciting coincidences happen that when you try something new.
As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, I love documentaries and those are the kinds of movies I watch the most. So I decided to find a movie that I wouldn’t have watched before doing this challenge. After some intense Netflix browsing, I decided to watch Harold and Maude. It’s about a relationship that builds between a young man who is obsessed with death and 79 year old woman who is full of life. That’s pretty much all I knew about the film before watching it. I felt some resistance at the beginning of the film, but made myself stick through watching it. Little did I know how relevant to the challenge the film was! There was even a reference about the importance of trying new things! That’s what I mean when I talk about magical coincidences. To me, those moments are so exciting! I won’t spoil the film for those who haven’t seen it, but I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for some inspiration in terms of living a full and happy life.
4. Your imagined fearful scenarios of what will happen when you do something new are more often than not wrong.
I was invited to do something with a group that I really did not want to do. I feel pretty confident saying no to people I’m close to as I know they know me and know my heart, but this group of people included people I was just getting to know. In the past, I would have said yes and then been upset with myself, carrying that energy into the event. My mental scenario included them being upset with me, or thinking I was being difficult or mean. This time though, I just nicely said I wasn’t interested in going and the result was a resounding “Ok, we’ll see you next time then.” I was almost disappointed at the non-reaction and then I laughed to myself and the reminder that my fearful thoughts are very bad predictors of what will happen in the future.
So those were the top four new things. I also rented a car from a new rental place, drove alone to a store I’d never driven to before, called a florist to order a corsage & boutonniere (I was nervous I’d get the order wrong), and tried a new gluten free bakery near my house (I went gluten free about two months ago).
I’ll be back again next week with some more things I’ve learned! If you’ve been doing a challenge of your own, I’d love to hear what you’ve been learning. I’d also love to hear any of your thoughts on what I shared.
If You Liked This Reflection, You Might Also Like:
Hug Your Fear and Try New Things March 2014 Challenge
12 Short Lessons on Overcoming Fear from 12 Courageous People