Back when I was a Girl Scout, I volunteered to pull the wagon full of cookie boxes if the other girl would ring doorbells and ask people to buy cookies. I like people, but I’m an introvert, and shy. Talk to lots of strangers? I’d rather step in front of a bus.
There’s this feeling, and I’ve certainly had it, that we should wait to do things until we “feel like it.” It’s not yet the time, goes that thinking, until the motivation is stronger than any reluctance we might feel.
A good friend once listened patiently as I listed all the reasons I could think of not to start a project, including how unready and nervous I felt. When I ran out of excuses, she interrupted me before I could run through the list again and said, “You’re scared? So, do it scared.”
That seemed too simple. Surely the answer was more complicated. “If it’s important,” she told me, “then it’s important enough to do it. If it’s not important enough to do it, the fear doesn’t matter. How important is this to you?”
I proceeded and the project went, if not perfectly, very well. During the project, I was nervous, elated, scared, excited, all at once. After, I was very happy I’d done it. There are no guarantees — it might have gone down in flames — but I was proud of myself for tackling something I felt strongly about.
It’s hard to explain to an extrovert, and more people are extroverts than introverts, how big a deal it is for an introvert, and a shy person, to talk to almost 600 people, even though 91% of them were receptive, everything from mildly pleased to very enthusiastic. There is not one person I met through this project who I am not glad I met. I got to meet almost 500 intelligent, openminded, caring people (and my assistant got to meet 20-30 others). If you are one of the people we gave Love Bead Safe Harbor Pins to, know that there are no words to say how happy I am that we met, or grateful I am that you listened to me, considered what I said, and decided to make your public commitment to the dignity of all human beings, even those you might not understand or approve of.
But it never did get easier, approaching strangers. Every time, I had to nerve myself to speak to people. Each encounter, I did it scared. I’m so glad I didn’t wait until I felt like it.
If there’s something you want to do, or create, and it’s important to you, don’t wait until you “feel like it.” If it’s really important to you, get moving, even if just the initial planning stage that will eventually bring your idea to fruition. Pat was right, all those years ago. If you need to do it, do it scared.