Help: The Scariest Word in the English Language

During the course of my short little life, I've forced myself to do a lot things that have scared the crap out of me.  I have done stand up comedy even when I was pretty sure I was going to bomb. I started a job in finance even though I could barely do basic math, and didn't reallllly understand what the stock market was (up good? down bad?)  I put all of my innermost thoughts and feelings about the worst experience of my life into a book for errrrrybody to read (My former boss bought a copy...*meep*).  I try to face my fears with the aggressiveness of a 7 year old running after the ice cream man with two dollars in her fist and a serious jonesing for a Choco Taco. C'mon we've all been there...if I'm going to be honest, I'm there right now!  I'd run an obstacle course for a SnoCone every.damn.day.

This way of living usually works for me: I see a fear and I fight to overcome it. I use the weapons at my disposal: positive attitude, a good worth ethic and a complete and total lack of shame.  The problem is that when these things do not work, I feel like a total and utter failure.  Why wasn't I good enough/smart enough/capable enough to fix this on my own. Saying that I can't handle something scares me, and it makes me feel weak.

What I've realized over time is that it isn't weakness that drives someone to be truthful about challenges that they can't overcome by themselves, it is bravery. Saying that something isn't working the way that you've been doing it isn't failure, it is the first step towards the solution.  I have found so much freedom in calling a friend and saying, "I am feeling like a hot mess, insert issue here has been happening and everything that I've tried to do to fix it hasn't made it better. I want to crawl up into a little ball, burrow down deep into the ground and never come out again.  What do I do?"

Amazingly, the person that I am talking to usually has a solution that I would have NEVER come up with by myself. and suddenly I don't feel as lost.  An added bonus is that the person that you talked to was able to be helpful, and that makes them feel good about themselves.

Currently, I have all of the galleys (this is the early edition of How to Get Run Over by a Truck) that I am supposed to be handing off to bookstore owners, and book buyers in bookstores around the City and asking them to consider carrying it (so exciting!) This is something that I had assumed I was BORN to do.  I love talking to strangers, I love books, I love sales - all signs point to easy peasy lemon squeezy.  At least that's what I thought the signs would point to - until I walked into a bookstore and got so scared that I panic bought a book and walked out without even talking to the cashier! For the first time in my life I was speechless.  I felt embarrassed. I felt like a failure.

I immediately called my best friend Leah, and with shame in my voice told her what happened.  I didn't know how to fix it, what did she think I should do? She gave me some really wonderful advice and techniques for how I could approach it next time. She made me feel like I shouldn't be ashamed of myself and reminded me that this kind of stuff is hard! I felt so much better about myself, and also a lot braver because I had her words of confidence ringing in my ears, that I went back into that book store and SUPER awkwardly pitched my book to the cashier.  Mind you, the cashier was the wrong person for me to talk to, and my knees were shaking, but I did it! And I know that I wouldn't have been able to do it unless I had asked Leah for help.

The only way that broken things get fixed is if we acknowledge that something is wrong, and then do the scariest thing of all - ask for help.


I know, being vulnerable is hard. I'm with you. 

Comments

  1. I just read a preview edition of your book (my husband is in the book business) and it was FABULOUS!! I think it should be required reading for medical school and other related professions. It hits a sweet spot of being accessible yet deep. Thanks for putting yourself out there as a regular human (rather than superhuman evolved expert) so your journey could inform and help others. Thanks and Kudos!

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, and for taking the time to read my book! I am so grateful to you for your kindness, and I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! Part of the reason why I wrote the book was to help others - fingers crossed it does that for someone out there. I hope that your husband enjoyed it as well!
      Heart,
      Katie

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