“If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives” – Lemony Snicket
This is one of the most important quotes I have learned so far as part of my experience on Gwynedd Council’s Managers of Tomorrow Scheme. Accepting opportunities, even those you do not know much about them, can lead you to unexpected directions, opening new doors and experiences.
The Council is in a period of change, and the staff are eagerly suggesting new ideas. In accepting these ideas, I can take advantage of the opportunity to influence, and be influenced by individuals, ideas and new locations. It is sometimes easy to refuse opportunities because I fear that I do not know enough about the subject, or refrain from contributing confidently and voicing opinions because no-one would accept my ideas as a trainee, but by doing and learning, I succeed and earn the respect of my colleagues much earlier than by watching and ‘waiting until I’m ready to act.
There is a great emphasis on this scheme to be able to reflect on experiences, and identify my strengths and weaknesses. “Do not over think”, and “you’re a perfectionist”, are the words that have followed me. I think of every option, route, and problems that may arise before offering new ideas, which means that, while I am confident in offering ideas, my mindset can slow down the process at times.
We live in a world where we are fearful of making mistakes, fearful of the person who is challenging, and fearful of questioning our own inventions. But what do we fear? Making a mess? The shame of being wrong? The fear of losing respect and friendships by challenging them? Or are we afraid of losing the comfortable feeling you get from accepting, following, and fitting perfectly into a new team?
Keeping quiet does not benefit anyone, and by accepting new invitations and offers and watching my diary fill, I learn that the feeling of trying and succeeding, or even trying and learning from a failure, is a better feeling than being calm and feeling comfortable.
So here is the creation of a New Year’s pledge, not to be afraid to venture, and not be afraid to give a leap of faith from time to time.