Begin. One little word. Five letters. And yet it seems to feel impossible at times! I’d like to think that I’m a motivated person with the know-how to make things happen. So why do I find it so hard to actually “begin” a new project? Like when I need to make a phone call and literally have it scripted, but continue to put off actually picking up the phone? Or when I have an email I need to send and I know what needs to be said, but I check all of my social media accounts instead? What’s happening? I think, for me, I am considering the “begin” part completely wrong. I have been assuming that the start of a process is the hardest part of it, rather than the actual beginning. And well you know what assuming does…
I can explain- well at least I’ll try. Let me use the email situation above as an example. Let’s say I’m planning to send an email to a prospective client. I know what I’d like to say, but I can’t make myself draft the email and instead zone out on my own social media. Why? To me, reaching out is the hardest part of establishing a work relationship. Things get scary here. I could get rejected (gasp!), or I could have someone say “yes” (gasp again). Either way, it might stress me. I know I could get my pride knocked down a few notches, or I could have to figure out how to make this business relationship work. I’ve designated this step that I’ve perceived as difficult as my starting point. But is it really? I mean just because I think it’s hard doesn’t mean that it’s where things actually start- right? So why am I getting frustrated with myself for having trouble getting started?
The truth is that I’m not having trouble getting started. My “begin” likely happened a long time ago. It may have been when I first met this person through a mutual friend years ago. Or maybe when I first stumbled upon her Instagram account several months ago. Or maybe when I hired her to help me with part of my business last week. Truthfully, I was probably beginning my partnership or business relationship before I even realized that I was! Ok! Whew! Check it off! I have just relieved myself of the burden and belief that I am terrible at getting things started.
Ok, I’ve figured out that my problem isn’t with beginning, so what do I do now? What’s my problem? How do I move on in this situation and get that email sent? What I need to do is to simply just TAKE THE NEXT STEP. I’ve already started and have been working my way down this path. It is literally as easy as taking that ONE STEP. It might be a bigger step and take a little courage, but it is only one step. And I’ve taken literally millions of them in my lifetime. Probably a lot more, but math and counting are not really my things. It is one step in a line of many. It is not Everest. And even if it were, I wouldn’t be scaling it in one step. I am reframing this task, this step, and making myself realize that I was making it much larger than I needed to make it. And I was calling it the wrong thing altogether!
This whole process is a bit of cognitive reframing, and I am relieved to know that I can change my thought patterns. First I need to make sure that I am labeling things correctly! By naming a point somewhere further into a project as the “beginning,” I was making myself think that I was terrible at starting projects. This wasn’t true! Also, by magnifying that point in my mind into something monumental, I was forgetting the fact that it was simply the next step. Whoops.
So those are my deep thoughts for today. I’m still a work in progress. At least I have a better idea of what I actually need to work on now…
About a year ago, I made a giant leap. I pursued the first career I have ever had outside of healthcare. It was terrifying. All I have known since I was 22 years old is being a nurse. This means I've only worked as a nurse for more than 20 (cough, cough) years, but I knew I needed a change. I was feeling burned out and did not have enough emotional energy left for my family. So I reached out to some acquaintances, and I started training as a travel agent- my specialty being Disney travel- something I've always loved. I began learning how the rest of the world functions using Google Docs and Zoom and all manner of things that were never required to take care of patients. I started booking trips and getting into my groove and then- WHAM. A pandemic took over the world. Disney closed. Do you hear me? Disney CLOSED, and Disney stayed closed.
I had no work, so I began pouring myself into improving my skills on social media. Now mind you, I had to get creative. In no way would I feel OK with trying to "sell" travel when there was no travel to be had. My posting needed to change, and I began shifting to just sharing content which related back to Disney in some way and could help my followers. With everyone spending more time at home, I started posting content to make people laugh, help them keep their kids busy, and show off products from shops that they might enjoy. And do you know what I learned? I found out that I really ENJOYED the process of social media. I liked learning what to share, when to share, and how to properly hashtag. I found out that I could do other things well.
This is still a wild ride for me, don't get me wrong. I don't want to gloss over that, and I don't want to dismiss the things I've learned over this past year. There is so much I need to learn, but here is what I DO know.
So here I am. Do I have it all figured out now? Nope. I never will. All I know is that I just have to take the next step. The pieces will fall into place. Eventually. And you know what else?
It's OK- really.
I am a mental health nurse practitioner, with a love for social media, trying to find my way through an often-messy life.