I was recently invited to join a group of experienced cyclists on a hilly, 20-mile evening ride (I know some of you are saying, “Really Vicki? Another cycling story” – so please work with me here). At first I was going to say “no thanks.” I was nervous and I didn’t want to be the one holding everyone back. But after reading Shonda Rhimes book, Year of Yes, I’ve been working on saying “yes” to things that make me uncomfortable.
So off I went to meet everyone and they couldn’t have been nicer to me. Lots of “don’t worry” comments eased my anxiety a little bit. We started riding and all was going well until we came to the first giant hill. I’ve been working on clipping in to my pedals and have been trying it on one side to ease the transition. As I trudged up the hill, very slowly, I clicked on my gears to lower them and my chain fell off. “OH NO!” And to add to my anxiety, a car was coming up the hill behind me at a very slow pace. I forgot that I wasn’t clipped in on my right foot. I felt trapped. My heart was racing. I had visions of myself falling into the traffic. I was PARALYZED WITH FEAR!
This got me thinking about all the fear we experience (create?) at work. What fears do you have that get in the way of you being satisfied, energized & productive? Here are two fears that I hear about.
When I talk to staff and leaders about what needs to be done to improve engagement, a big buzz word is “accountability.” When staff who are actively disengaged bring their negative behavior to work, most people want someone else to handle it. But the fear comes when it’s time to have those uncomfortable conversations. Now it’s time for you to feel the fear and move through it. No more procrastinating. Get a book, attend a class – improve your communication skills and just do it!
Making or Admitting to a Mistake
Making a mistake at work is scary. They are paying you to do a good job – not to mess up. But hey – we are human and we do make mistakes. Add to the fact that if you aren’t making some mistakes, you are probably stagnant and maybe in need of a little innovation to mix things up. No, I’m not suggesting making mistakes on purpose or on the really big things (like safety or quality). But try something new. Give yourself a chance to fail – who knows what you might discover!
Now back to our regularly scheduled bike story…I panicked and just before I fell, I unclipped my left foot and righted myself. Crisis averted. Whew! I put the chain back on and had to walk my bike up the hill. I was too shaky to ride. I acted really cool about it but it took me a good 10 minutes to calm down. Hey – guess what. I finished that ride with everyone else. I rode the bike up all the other hills and we all pulled into the parking lot together.
What if I would have let the first bout of fear paralyze me to the point of turning back? Or, what if I had said “no” to begin with? I would have missed a lot of beautiful scenery, the summer sounds & smells, the company of new (very patient) friends and some great exercise.
Now…dive in! Do something you are afraid of. It’s the lesson that keeps on giving.
Happy Skydiving (haha)!