ReVisited: 20 Seconds of Insane Courage
I did this original post back in November of 2019 when I was really struggling with stepping outside of my comfort zone. I remember hearing the quote that inspired this post and immediately having my mind go to some very specific situations that I was hovering around because I simply couldn’t force myself into that gray space of the unknown. When I look back on old posts, I don’t always remember the exact situations I might have eluded to but with this post I very much remember what was plaguing me. The funny thing is that some of these issues passed into trivial territory after my foray into courage and some of them still cause me great anxiety. So what, if anything, has changed since I came to my courage realization?
First, I still meet women, young and old, that overthink themselves right out of opportunities and successes. This is both comforting and frustrating. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with overthinking or self-sabotaging but it is also frustrating to think it won’t magically go away one day. Since writing the original post, I have learned to recognize and calm my toxic thoughts before they spiral out of control. I’m also better at sharing my concerns with my squad which brings sense and reason into play. We can be our own worst enemies if we aren't careful and we can allow ourselves to think we are still fighting battles that ended ages ago. Sometimes, we need to talk to ourselves more than we listen to ourselves.
Second, I still agree with my original assessment… The worry and fret is 9,000 times worse than the actual event though I tend to forget that in the moment. I know specifically that one of the fears I had originally seemed like an impossible task for me to complete without vomiting. The very idea of even attempting to step outside my comfort zone on that topic made me break out in a cold sweat. Well, I finally forced myself into and it came to nothing. It wasn’t terrible. In fact, it wasn’t wonderful. It was just regular. Imagine if I had only done it months earlier instead of making myself sick with dread?
It’s kind of like the last time I had to get a shot. I don’t do needles ever, under any circumstance, and the only doctor I willingly go to is my optometrist because I know she won’t stab me. Poke me in the eye with a stick, yes but not stab. Well, I didn’t really have an option this time so after ages of having a borderline conniption I went to my appointment. I literally planned the whole thing out so that I would be distracted all day in the hopes of not passing out before getting there. I considered asking my mother to come along to ensure I made it in the building. I sat in the waiting room so wound up that I was essentially bouncing out of my chair and then I had a full conversation with the nurse while facing the opposing wall so as not to see the needle. I even had a plan for how I would get through the “stick”. The second I felt the alcohol wipe I started to pinch myself. I figured if I could focus on that I wouldn’t notice the needle as much or worse yet, jerk in panic. See, it’s not the pain that bothers me but rather the idea of something going under my skin. (I could vomit just writing that sentence.) Well, as I sat there waiting for her to begin, getting more and more panicked I felt her putting a bandaid on. I never felt the prick. I had made myself an absolute wreck over nothing. Even more ridiculously, I left the appointment with a self-inflicted bruise that DID hurt from my little distraction activity.
That’s kind of how life works out at times. Sometimes, you worry yourself to death and it comes to nothing. Sometimes, you worry yourself and it feels different but not painful and sometimes it hurts. We can’t always predict how life will turn out but that also means we can’t always foresee what to worry with either.
Finally, I think I've come to realize or maybe just accept, that there are things worth the risk. Not everything outside our comfort zone is necessary and sometimes the risk does outweigh the potential benefit but in many cases the risk of making a fool of yourself or getting your feelings hurt is not as big of a deal compared to the risk of losing the opportunity. Like with my shot, we have to decide that it’s worth the risk to jump outside of our comfort zone for even 20 seconds and you know what I’ve learned in the last 2 years? If you do that enough, your comfort zone will grow exponentially. And you know that little task I asked you to wish me luck on two years ago? I completed it with flying colors and have grown so much since taking that step that I can easily approach tasks I never would have dreamed possible a decade ago. Sometimes, you really do just have to say a prayer and jump. Good luck!