Friday, October 2, 2009

Fear isn't always that scary!

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” FDR

Today I was training my friend on the computer system that we will use from now on at Weight Watchers. After years of doing all the tallying by hand, we’ve got computers to do it. Finally!

My friend isn’t a computer user, as a matter of fact, she got scared when we were first trained this summer and chose to quit rather than having to learn how to use the system. I was convinced that she was perfectly able to do it, but… she still ended up quitting for a while, and then the launch was pushed back and she came back for a while. I was not about to let her quit again!

I think I took the right approach. Little by little I explained to her how easy it was to work with, and how I KNEW she was able to do it. Finally, she agreed to give it a try. So today was the day.

I didn’t want to overwhelm her, so I just got her started on the training program on the computer, and let her work her way through. I was there to help out, but didn’t hurry to do so. She would call out “I’m stuck again!” and then would add “Oh, I figured it out, all by myself!.” So much for being “not good enough to learn this kind of stuff.”

We have been working together for several years now, not only are we very good friends, but we’re also a heck of a team. I know that she loves working that meeting, and I love working it with her (I drive 40+ minutes early Sunday morning for 1 meeting!!!) but she would have quit on it because she was afraid to try something that obviously, she’s perfectly able to do.

There’s a lesson right there: Fear should not be enough to turn you around from something you really want to do. It’s a warning to be careful, to prepare, but if you fail to try because you’re scared, you’ll never do anything and you might end up losing important opportunities.

More than that, fear generates fear. If I didn’t dare try that computer program, maybe I shouldn’t think that I can learn this new language. Maybe I shouldn’t travel alone, maybe… Next thing you know you’re afraid of everything.

The opposite is true also, one courageous feat leads to another. If I was able to get myself through college successfully, maybe I can actually be brave enough to move to the States. If I managed to move across the continent, learn a new language, I’ll be darn if I can’t stop smoking! Pffft, if I could do THAT, then I bet I can lose weight and learn to take care of myself. Next thing you know, everything is possible!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fearless, nobody is. The people who seem brave aren’t fearless, they only faced their fear once, with great enough results that they decided to do it again, and again. Being brave isn’t about playing chicken with a train, or putting your hand in a campfire, it’s about deciding to give a computer program that intimidates you a try and working your way through it until it works. :o) Cheri rocks!

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