Facing Fear (Challenge 4) – Days 3-7

This has been the first week of the #yearoffear challenge, in which I do one thing a day that scares me or makes me feel uncomfortable. So far I’ve been playing in the shallow end of the pool, so next week it might be time to grab my kick board and move into deeper waters.

I had an activity in mind that was a bit higher up on the fear-ometer than the first two had been. I’d say about 5. And I had psyched myself up to do it on Wednesday and rehearsed in my head what I was going to say. I was ready, but slightly jittery, and then when it came to do it, the person wasn’t available. What a let-down!

So that’s now an activity for a future day, and probably one I will have to do on the run when the person and I are in the same place and the same time. Perhaps that will reduce the fear a bit, as I won’t have had time to build it up as a scary thing in my head. On the other hand it might get scarier, because I’ll be thinking about it more until the opportunity presents itself.

Activity 3 (Wednesday): Introduce myself to someone at work

Speaking of doing activities on the run, I had the idea that I should introduce myself to a new person at work, who had obviously been there for a while but for some reason I hadn’t met. I’m really bad at this. If someone is in the kitchen and I don’t know who they are I’ll talk to them. But I feel really embarrassed about acknowledging that I don’t know who they are, especially if they’ve been there for more than a couple of days, and I feel awkward about introducing myself, so I generally don’t take that step.

I’d rank it a 2 on the fear-ometer. I know the person isn’t going to bite my head off, and they’re probably going to be relieved that I took the first step so that they won’t have to. But it’s still uncomfortable.

There’s a new person in my office, who has been here a few weeks. I often walk past their desk and wonder who they are. But there is no way in hell I’m going to talk to them at their desk when I don’t know them. That would probably be getting up to a 4 on the fear-ometer. However, on Wednesday we were both in the kitchen at the same time, so rather than just saying hi on my way out, I spoke to them, introduced myself and we established why we didn’t know who each other was (I’d been on leave when they’d done their introduction round of the floor. And now the awkwardness is out of the way. Hooray! I no longer feel awkward and wonder who this person is and if I should say something when I walk past their desk.

  • Fear-ometer rating pre-challenge: 2/10
  • How I felt doing it: Nervous and a bit awkward because I didn’t know what to talk about and I always start to blabber on about nothing in particular when I feel like this.
  • How I felt after doing it: Glad I’d broken the ice.
  • Would I do this again: Yes.

Activity 4 (Thursday): Ask a shop assistant about a product I don’t know anything about in their shop

  • Fear-ometer rating pre-challenge: 3/10
  • How I felt doing it: Nervous, but more relaxed as the conversation continued. Remembering that I’m not supposed to know everything – they are the expert, not me – that’s why I’m asking.
  • How I felt after doing it: Glad I’ve broken the ice.
  • Would I do this again: Yes.

Activity 5 (Friday): Say hello to 5 people I’ve never spoken to at school

This is only a little bit scary, because all it involved was catching the eye of five people I didn’t know who walked past me while I was waiting for Kramstable at school pickup, smiling at them and saying hi.

I usually feel a little bit awkward talking to someone I don’t know. Sometimes I walk past other parents I don’t know and I wonder if I should acknowledge them or not, and if they don’t say anything to me then by the time I’ve decided to say hi, we’ve passed each other. I always feel awkward saying something when I don’t know them, but realistically no one at a primary school is going to get weird on me for saying hello, so it’s not a huge risk.

  • Fear-ometer rating pre-challenge: 1/10
  • How I felt doing it: A bit awkward. Also I only found three people to say hi to. The others who I walked past either I knew already, or they weren’t looking in my direction.
  • How I felt after doing it: Warm and fuzzy.
  • Would I do this again: Yes. I’m going to make a bit more of an effort to simply say hi, because I don’t know a lot of the other parents at the school. Maybe even speak to one of them if we’re both waiting in the same spot.

Activity 6 (Saturday): Completed

I’m not going to report on every activity.

Activity 7 (Sunday): Do my speech

This activity comes from the book Resonate by Louise Mahler,  which I read earlier in the year. The challenge was to do a short presentation in front of a trusted friend or family member to get some feedback on how I speak and how I present myself. It’s been daunting enough to make me have delayed starting by several months. I was going to do it in, um, March.

Part of the challenge has been remembering to fix up a time with aforementioned trusted friend or family member. I did that yesterday, so once I had a commitment from them, there were simply no more excuses.

  • Fear-ometer rating pre-challenge: 5/10. I know this isn’t public speaking, but it’s still performing so I felt pretty anxious. Plus I knew someone would be “judging me”, which made it all the harder. I recorded my performance as well, so I can assess it myself. Listening to myself speak is something I have avoided doing during my radio career, even though “they” say it’s a good thing to do to assess how you’re doing and make improvements. I’m not looking forward to doing this, but it’s given me another idea for my #steppingonthecracks project.
  • How I felt doing it: Awkward, presenting in front of people I normally just talk to. It went pretty quickly though.
  • How I felt after doing it: Glad it was over.
  • Would I do this again: If I had to.


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