Friday, February 20, 2009

Do it anyway

Nike says, ‘Just do it!” Some folks, like Leo Babauta on, say “Do it now!” For many years my mantra has been, “Do it anyway.”

If I gave in to all my fears I would spend my life huddling in a corner. Period. Totally non-functional. Paralized by fear at the thought of doing anything. But when I was seventeen I made the choice to not do that. No matter what it was, no matter what it took, I would do it anyway.

So - am I nervous about giving a presentation? Do it anyway. Meeting new people? Do it anyway. What about driving someplace new? Someday I will post about my relationship with driving. Suffice it to say that white knuckles, tight shoulders, and a churning stomach are the price I pay to drive. But if I don’t drive I am back to huddling in that corner. So I do it anyway.

Return an item to a store? Confront someone with whom I am having an issue? Buy myself anything? Yes, believe it or not, for the greater part of my life, situations like these and many others generated stomach churning fear. But I did them anyway. And over the years the fear has become less.

In some cases it has disappeared entirely. I can now return anything for any reason, because by continuing to confront my fear I have learned that I used to view the clerk as someone in authority, someone who could deny me what I wanted and humiliate me and make my life utterly miserable. Because that’s what the authority figures in my early life did. Now I view the clerk as someone who is there to provide a service for me, a service that I deserve and have every right to expect. That’s not to say, of course, that even now the occasional surly service desk person can’t, for one moment, make my stomach clench. Then I take a deep breath, strengthen my resolve, and do it anyway.


What gets you out of your corner and into your life?

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