I didn't know what I was doing.


Have you ever felt that way? You know that feeling like you were out of your comfort zone. Maybe you were given a task that was a challenge. The challenge is just enough outside your skill set or routine that you actually begin to experience a “lost feeling”. With that lost feeling comes a little panic (or maybe a lot), anxiety, fear and maybe a little embarrassment. A voice starts to talk to you telling you things like “you can’t do this” or “why are you even trying this” or “just quit” or “run” or “hide” … Get the picture? Ever heard that voice? I have experienced this many times in my life. Yes I have said the words “I have know idea what I’m doing”. And I have learned regardless of the circumstance the best reaction is to face the challenge head on. Embracing it for all its worth. I would suggest that whenever you are feeling the sensation, what you are really experiencing is GROWTH! And growth is the secret to improving your position personally and professionally in life. We all need growth to feel satisfied in our pursuits in life. If you ignore these opportunities or run from them, not only will you be missing out in a satisfaction component, you are robbing yourself of a huge part of life.

Assuming I have peaked your interest and you are now thinking the next time the “I don’t know what I’m doing “voice is heard you will meet the challenge head on……

Here are a few tips to assist you with tackling, accepting and allowing yourself to experience the growth.

1. First recognize it for what it is…. Just growth and it is a really good thing!

2. Breath.. It is amazing how many things in life are cured by breathing exercises. Take deep breaths in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

3. Find a safe zone. People who you trust and are a positive influence in all your pursuits are those that make up your safe zone. Call them when this feeling is coming on. They believe in you and will be filled with encouragement.

4. You’re not alone. We have all felt this way. The difference is in those that tackle the challenge experience the fulfillment of growth and those that let the voice win will have to grow another day.

5. Be honest with yourself, pay attention to what’s happening. Accept it and recognize that no matter what, this is a good experience and you are growing from it.

When the growth becomes routine, you have now mastered a new skill, behaviour and/or activity. Then be ready to grow again. I liken this growth to some of the simple things (yet challenging at the time) that we all participated in to some degree like learning to skate or swim or learning to ride a bike. Once you have learned the skill it is no longer growth. You no longer hear the voice of doubt. But you did as you were learning. The feeling of not knowing what you were doing was very much part of how you were feeling. You overcame that feeling and accomplished the task. Such is the case in any new venture you tackle. And you probably learned the skill as a result of people helping you, believing in you, ignoring the self doubt talk and believing you can do it. Most importantly you believed in yourself. As simple as this sounds, that is how you overcome every challenge or the “I don’t know what I’m doing” feeling and turn it into growth. Whether you presenting to 700 bankers asking for 250 million, starting up your first business, going off to university or simply learning to ride a bike, remember it is growth and it is a wonderful and essential part of life.

“Where you stumble, there your treasure lies”

Joseph Campbell

© 2013-2014 R. Todd Millar. All rights reserved.

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