It can be hard not to feel anxious, even dread, when we set a goal or begin a project, which we have never done before. In fact, that feeling can negatively affect our productivity, lengthening the time it would normally take to complete a similar project and making us feel impotent in the process. But once we get started, the anxiousness we once felt about the project often subsides. In the end, it usually turns out that completing the project wasn’t as hard as we had imagined. In fact, there might even be an impulse to go out and buy Staple’s “That was Easy Button.” But why do we feel dread in the first place and why is it that once we start, the challenge of a new goal or project becomes easier to handle?
I think that the anxiousness and dread that we feel is from the uncertainty of not knowing if we will be successful. It seems that the sense of uncertainty is inescapable and actually a natural element of the process of doing something we’ve never done before. The uncertainty can obstruct us from envisioning the success which is within our reach, and truthfully, we won’t know if we will be successful or not until we are willing to take the first step.
To take that first step, we might think all we need is a push and that the momentum from the push will get us to the finish line. After all, Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest stays at rest, but an object in motion stays in motion. However, I think there is more to that.
While momentum will keep us in motion, it is commitment that will get us to the finish line. In fact, it is committing to the goal or the project in its entirety that makes the unavoidable obstacles that will undoubtedly present themselves easier to handle and push past. Commitment means you intend to cross the finish line and get things done, despite not knowing exactly how. It means accepting all the possible outcomes, including those outcomes that are not optimal.
When confronted with an uncertain path, our instinct is to avoid it. Yet, it is these very uncertain paths on which we walk where we learn more about ourselves and our strengths. If we let that anxiousness or sense of dread overtake us, one thing is certain, we will never know if we have what it takes to be successful or not. So, I encourage you…the next time you find yourself presented with the opportunity to start something new, take it, commit to it and cross that finish line with all you have.