Scared to be shit when trying something new

Sitting and writing

Sitting down and writing.

Something I haven’t done in about 6 months. It feels like I no longer know how. And it makes me wonder, was it because I settled that I felt like I had nothing to write about? Weirdly enough, I did experience many things I could have written about in my summer return to Canada and which I probably will write about. But I didn’t even attempt to write anything.

There’s a part of me who felt like writing about my home country and my working experience would not be interesting for anyone to read about. And while it may or may not have been true the part that annoys me the most is that I didn’t even try.

I don’t know about you, but it’s something I’ve always struggled with. If I don’t think I can be half decent at something, I don’t even give it a try. I don’t want to discover that I suck at yet one more thing. In my opinion, there are already so many things I’m not good at, I don’t want to add any more to the list. But by doing this I also prevent myself from finding new things I might enjoy even though I’m not what one would call even remotely good.

Like dancing swing.

I truly love it.

I can’t really do it properly, but it makes me laugh so much, I instantly become happier when I do it. And when I dance with a partner, I don’t even care what other people might think of my lack of ability to follow (it’s so hard to let someone else take the lead sometimes…), the fact that I keep messing up, or that I end up laughing so much I can’t even do two steps in a row. I am just in that moment, perfectly happy.

Not something new, but clearly something I had not done in a long time!
Not something new, but clearly something I had not done in a long time!

Which begs the question, why am I so scared of trying something new and risking being an actual beginner. There’s no shame in learning something new, it’s actually quite admirable. And like my parents have reminded me my entire life, you can’t be good at something before you learn it.

I know to most people I probably seem like the daredevil always willing to try something new, but the truth is, I am as scared as everyone else to try something different. The last few┬ánew things I’ve picked to try are things I thought I had a shot at being not total shit to start with.

I’m always the first one to encourage people when they try something new, telling my friends that it’s normal to be shit at something you’ve never done before, yet when it comes time to apply my own advice to myself, it’s slightly different.

The fear of being bad at something has always led a big part of my life. The same way my fear of being rejected as prevented me from going after people I admire and want to befriend, truly find attractive or both. It had also prevented me from asking help from people to get exactly what I want.

But with baby steps, I’m moving forward.

I’m now challenging myself to do something that scares me regularly. And usually, those scary things are things that sound really insignificant to anyone else, like messaging that handsome guy I met a few months ago, just to keep in touch. Going to the movie or a protest on my own. Sending my resume to that dropzone located in paradise. Meeting that cute guy from Tinder. Sending a message for a workaway or a housesitting gig. Booking a flight to a brand new country. Or asking that friend if he could ask if the company he works for wouldn’t happen to be hiring by any chance?

All of those are actual things I had to challenge myself to do in the last few months. None of these took very long. They were mostly messages to send to people, but since I was so scared of getting rejected it took me days to work up the courage to do it. And every time I would do the same thing: overthink what words I should use, ask myself what the worst outcome could be (which is always not getting any answers back or getting a no, both of which are definitely not the end of the world) and then quickly write something, hit the send button before changing my mind and then feel relieved. Waiting for the answer can be stressful, but once the message is sent, it’s no longer in my hands, so I can breathe and relax.

That fear of not succeeding has always prevented me from trying in the first place. It’s still a work in progress, but finally, I’m moving forward. I might not have gotten that job in paradise, but I’m still in touch with the cute guys, it will probably not become anything more, but I’ve got two good friends now. I did go to Kenya for that awesome workaway which made me discover the world of skydiving. I went to a few new countries in the last year and I am now in Dubai, starting my new job thanks to my friend helping me out by getting me in touch with the HR department.

I don’t know what will be next, but I sure as hell am going to keep challenging myself to do things that scare me regularly!

What are the possibly insignificant but scary things could you do today?

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