Yikes… I’ve Never Done This Before!

You know that uncomfortable feeling… You’re a rookie on a new assignment. You might screw it up or choke in front of colleagues, others may sense your inexperience. Your reputation is on the line along with your organization’s results.

Self-limiting, fear can arise whenever we take on a new responsibility. Whether it is managing a team, presenting to top management, or planning a new program, we can easily talk ourselves out of confidence and position ourselves to underperform. OR… we can “flip” what we do with that unfamiliarity.

Everything you’ve successfully done, and anything you’ve later excelled at is something that, at some point, you did for the first time – and survived. Most of those firsts probably tapped into skills you already have, and were not failures, even if you later improved. So, to manage anxiety, it is worth noting these potential advantages of being a beginner rather than an expert. You will likely:
Be more creative and resourceful, looking at things from more angles rather than rely on old assumptions, conventions or narrow perspectives
Be more curious and ask great questions without being self-conscious or over-relying on what worked last time
Be more thorough and thoughtful rather than use “auto pilot” or wing it
Be more energized by the work because you are in learning mode
And whether a beginner, intermediate or expert at something, you always operate along a spectrum of many possible outcomes such that one misstep or bad judgment call is not failure. A mistake is simply a notch back on that spectrum, putting you at a new starting point from which to continue, with trust in yourself and your sources of support.