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No more whining

January 15, 2010

I’ve been pretty whiny and negative the last few weeks. Hopefully not as much in this venue, because no one wants to listen to some stranger whine about their life, but I was not as kind to my family and friends. I’m just happy they like me enough to put up with it, because it is not my normal way of being.

I’m been working through the Idea Catalyst Kit from the Magnificent Megan M. She designed it for people who don’t think they’re creative (not a problem I normally have), who are stuck (that’s me right there), and who need to come up with ideas (also not usually a problem I have, but see the aforementioned ‘stuck’ comment). She’s been generating ideas for a living for several years, and decided to write down her process so that other people could benefit from how awesome she is at it.

I highly recommend the kit, just in general, but especially for people who fall into one of the above categories (uncreative, stuck, need ideas). It’s really wonderful.

One of the things she has you do in the first part of it is write down five things that you’ve done that you thought were going to be hard, but were actually much easier than expected. And I found myself having some trouble with the exercise, not because I’ve never done anything hard, but because I didn’t really think about how hard the things I wanted to do would be before I did them.

For example:

1) When I was in high school, I got it into my head that I wanted to go to Germany. So I applied for a scholarship to study abroad in Germany between high school and college, got it, and went. For ten months. I didn’t speak any German when I left, and everyone I talked to said, “Oh my goodness, that’s going to be so hard!” and I shrugged and said, “I suppose, but I’ll figure it out.”

And it was hard (When I got off the plane, and couldn’t understand what everyone was saying, then I thought, “Dear lord, what did I get myself into?” but at that point it was too late to turn back, so I just did it.), but I didn’t really think about it before I did it. I just wanted to do it, so I did.

2) When I was in college, I got it into my head that I wanted to go and live in Japan for my junior year. Not three or six months, like most of my classmates, but for a full nine months. So I took two years of Japanese (a prerequisite, this time) and went. And I knew that I could do it because I’d done it once before. It would mean being away from my boyfriend at the time for nine months, but I figured if it were meant to be, we’d survive it. Everyone said, “Oh wow, that’s going to be so hard, to be gone for so long from this man you love.” And I said, “Yeah, probably, but I’m sure we’ll get through it.”

Well, five years later, I’m married to the man who was my boyfriend at the time, and it was hard to be away from him for those nine months, but we got through it, just like I thought we would. And the experience of living abroad the second time was even more rewarding than the first because I got to learn from my mistakes and do it better.

Rinse and repeat with all the supposedly hard things I’ve done in life (going to a small alternative high school, going off to college, quitting my first job because it didn’t fit my idea of where I wanted to go, making new friends along the way). And maybe that means I’m arrogant, or naive, or something, but I just didn’t either think about how hard it would be, or didn’t care, because I knew I could handle it.

Or maybe it was just that the things I was deciding to do were so big that I couldn’t really think about how hard they would be, so I just dove in.

But for some of the smaller scale things that I’ve done — like going to a party in college where I didn’t know anyone — that had me nervous or scared, those things always ended up being totally awesome experiences directly proportional to how scared I was to do them.

So considering what I’ve done, whether or not I thought they were going to be hard before I did them, it makes me wonder why I’m so trepidatious when I think about starting a business. It CAN’T possibly be harder to do that than it was to live in a foreign country for ten months. Or to leave my now-husband behind for nine months. Or whatever. And even though I have time to think about all the little pieces of it and how nervous and scared I am to do each thing, experience should dictate that the rewards will be directly proportional to my nervousness and fear.

So I’ve decided that I’m not going to be nervous or scared (or at least I won’t let it affect me). That I don’t care how hard or scary things like this are supposed to be. I’m just going to do it. And when I get going, I’m sure I’ll come across pieces of it are harder than I thought they would be, but I’ve overcome some pretty difficult things in my time and been successful, and I can definitely do that here.

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