Leaning In

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I’ve been learning a new role for some work that I’ve taken on the side and I’ve been measured in what I’ve taken on for a lot of what I thought were logical reasons.  I have a lot of obligations outside of this new gig (as we all do) and I’m taking my time in adding new responsibilities to my life.  Plus I’ve reconsidered a lot of what I want to do and I’m getting better at setting boundaries with what I’m willing to take on.  After all, it is my time and I do have a say in how I spend it.  But I never considered if I felt that way simply because I wanted to control how I spent my time.  While most of that is absolutely practical and logical, there is always a part about control.  Like, we hold ourselves back from fully committing because we don’t know what we will get.

So I had a conversation with a woman I work with and she made the comment about leaning into what we are doing and embracing it.  Her tone woke me up to something inside of me.  I realized that I was trying to avoid commitment in order to keep my options open.  I avoid going all in because I don’t want to end up responsible for something I don’t want to do again.  That has happened too many times in my life and, in truth, that is something I refuse to do.  I will not put myself in a position where I am left holding the bag for someone or where I am responsible to someone else’s dreams before my own.

But what dawned on me is that I have ALWAYS held back for that reason.  Yes, I definitely have been taken advantage of before and who likes putting in effort for no return?  But I intentionally never went all in because I didn’t want to deal with the consequences of cleaning something up on my own if it wasn’t what I really wanted.  I’ve learned that life doesn’t work like that.  In order to get anything out of it, we have to go all in regardless of the return.  The truth is, even if the return doesn’t look how we think it should, we are still getting something out of it.  We are always learning.  Any fears I may have about “wasting” time or things not being done at the right time are unfounded—and I’ve always had this weird anxiety with time.  In high school I literally wouldn’t go out to someone’s house after school because I knew my mom wouldn’t pick me up after a certain time of night.  I missed the “after audition” for orchesis because I was too tired.  In college I had a four hour once a week med term class that I would always leave halfway through because I couldn’t convince myself to stay until 9:30 at night.  I mean, I also already knew 90% of that material, but I left because of the time.  The same at parties..unless it was at my house, I would always leave early.  That is neurotic.

The universe works in mysterious ways until it gives you signs so blatant you can no longer miss them.  My conversation with my co-worker/mentor was that sign for me.  I realized that there is no reason to continually leave the party early.  Or not fully engage in what I’ve decided to take on.  There will always be things in the world that we don’t want to do—or parts of things we don’t want to do.  We have to learn that it’s all part of the sandwich so to speak.  But when we fully lean in, that is when we get the most out of it.  And yes, you may feel ridiculous learning something or doing something for the first time—you may end up not even liking it—but you can say you tried it.  You may even surprise yourself.  So I’m leaning in and I will take on what I can to move forward.  I will learn the lessons and apply them.  That is what it’s all about.   

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