How to learn something new

LULULEMON bagThis is about how stepping into my fear was the big YES to a new opportunity. And about being inspired by a Lululemon bag!  (The bag doesn’t get ALL the credit but its a big part of the story.)

Recently I was contacted to be involved in some work that I had never done before. The requirements included some clear areas that I was skilled in, but they also required my ability to use technology that I was totally unknown to me. My initial enthusiasm, upon seeing the list of requirements, began to drop. In fact, I was terrified. My gut was turning, I felt sick and I thought, “Who am I kidding?”

Just then I say the Lululemon bag sitting in my office. And these words practically leapt off the bag toward me: DO ONE THING A DAY THAT SCARES YOU.  Now motivational posters and sayings are not really my thing – I think they are a little lame actually, and I avoid any requests to pretend to be a motivational speaker. I think motivation is best when it is intrinsic, and there is something patronizing about others giving me pat little sayings when life is so complex, and tough to boot.

But there is no avoiding it – the Lululemon bag was talking to me. And I was scared. Here was my one thing to do.

I checked my calendar. Surprisingly, where I am usually jam-booked, there was clear day. A day clearly deigned to be a “learn the new technology” day. The fear was still in my gut, but I was now thinking that it was an invitation not a warning. My business partner got involved:  “Go for it”  – he was like a cheerleader on the sidelines. “It’ll be fun and even if nothing comes of it, you will have learned something.”

There’s the thing. “Even if nothing comes of it, you will have learned something.”  AHHH – the learning that comes from trying new things, taking chances and not caring how it turns out. Like a kid who tries to move from crawling to walking and just concentrates on this moment, this learning right now – not anticipating the fall that is inevitably part of the learning curve.

Could I harken back to the innocence of not predicting failure? Of not beginning to criticize myself before others got the chance? Of actually CARING DEEPLY AND NOT CARING AT ALL.

With my trusty cheerleader and bag at my side, I could. I did. It stayed scary – for about 4 days. But the feeling in my stomach somehow made me feel alive and it was part of the fun.  I seriously engaged in the opportunity, worked really hard to do my best (I’m really not at the “leave it all up to the universe by any stretch)  and then gave it my all.  What I didn’t care at all about? The outcome. Truly I said to myself, “I have done what I can – this is my best, if its not good enough – oh well.”

Opportunity taken. Opportunity won. With a little bit of help from my friends.

One thought on “How to learn something new

  1. Great story. I usually get thru scary things that are new experiences by thinking that it’s not like I’m going skydiving or bungee jumping where I could actually hurt myself. The worst that can happen in these situation is a bruised ego. Heaven forbid!
    Did you know you sent this to me on my birthday or was that just a fluke?

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