One of the best things you can do for personal growth is to find something you are nervous to try and then do it anyway.
It doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as jumping off of a cliff, though that would certainly do the trick. It could be something much smaller and simpler. As long as it something a little new. Or maybe even something old, tried in a new way.
Let’s say you’re cooking dinner and you try a new recipe or you try to embellish and old recipe. Maybe you are even making up your own recipe.
You might be nervous that it won’t come out great. That maybe others won’t like it. Or that you might end up wasting food.
The safer play would be to revert to the tried and true. After all, you just want to eat and then get on with life.
But why not experiment a bit? Why not take a little risk? Why not try something new, something that makes you a little bit nervous?
Even if you fail catastrophically, the damage is limited. It would be easy to recover, even if you had to order out a replacement meal. But you would learn something in the process.
Actually, you would learn two things. You’d learn about whatever technical mistake you made and you would learn about the experience of trying something new and having it not work out.
The same thing applies to your work.
New Things at Work
There are many places you could take small, contained risks to get these learning benefits.
When you put yourself out there a bit, you will find that there are lots of things to try.
Maybe you have wanted to organize a lunch meeting with some colleagues, but you’ve been nervous to even try because everyone seems so busy and they might not want to do that sort of thing anyway.
Why not try to set it up and see what happens? The worst case scenario is that it won’t work out. But you will have a chance to learn why people couldn’t make it or why they weren’t interested.
Which would put you in the position of re-approaching this with a better shot at success down the road (maybe a breakfast meeting is more desirable with a certain type of agenda).
Chances are, of course, that this will actually work out and that you will receive a lot of appreciation for having taken the initiative to make it happen.
Maybe you’ve considered delegating a task or responsibility to someone on your team, but you’re nervous that they aren’t ready or that they won’t do it properly.
Do it anyway. Do it in baby steps if that makes sense to contain the risks, but do it. For both of your sakes.
Maybe you’ve procrastinated a difficult conversation you need to have with someone, because you’re nervous that you won’t handle it well or that they won’t handle it well.
Do it anyway. It might be rough at points, but you already know it needs to happen and putting it off isn’t going to help. Get advice and encouragement from others to help. But do it.
There are lots of opportunities for you to spur your own growth. You probably already know about a lot of them. They are the things that make you a bit nervous when you think about doing them.
Lean into that. The fact that you’re nervous means that it is a likely opportunity for growth. It also means that it is something you take seriously. Give yourself a chance to dig in and tackle it.
The only way to make the impact and learn the lessons and grow is to do it. There is no way around that.
Sometimes you just need to do it scared.