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Too Late To Back Out Now

“So why did you agree to do it?”

Good question. At the moment he asked, I was seriously wishing I had not, as I have several times today when remembering what’s on tomorrow’s agenda.

DRIVE_Sm“It” is an all-day defensive driving course offered via my employer. If you know how much I dislike driving, particularly in a situation that could in any way be considered risky, you know this is not my cup of tea and definitely NOT how I would choose to spend a gorgeous summer day.

But in all honesty, my decision to participate was very intentional.

It’s an approach I don’t use often, but when I do, it has served me well. The decision generally involves something that at a gut level, I know would be really good for me, despite the anxiety I feel about the decision. As soon as I recognize the opportunity, I plunge ahead without really thinking it through or analyzing the possible outcomes. Hesitate a few moments longer and chances are very good I’ll chicken out or talk myself out of it. But if I plow forward (and then resist the urge to back out right after making the commitment), the reward is usually worth it in the long run.

I’ve employed this tactic a handful of times in recent years, including volunteering for a committee without first getting the full details about what was expected, starting a conversation that I knew would be uncomfortable, applying for an opportunity for which I was terrified I might actually be chosen, signing up for a 10K when my longest run to date had been about 4 miles, and emailing a proposal that I wasn’t entirely sure I could follow through with.

As a result of tricking myself into these spur-of-the-moment commitments, I’ve gotten to know some really great people that formerly were barely acquaintances, forced some issues out onto the table that had been getting under my skin for far too long, been offered what promises to be an awesome opportunity (more on that later), finished my first 10K, and feel pretty confident I’ll be able to deliver on that proposal. As a result, as uncomfortable as this approach can make me, I highly recommend it to anyone in need of a little extra nudge to move forward in life.

Want to try a new hobby but don’t know where to start or afraid you will stink at it? Plunge right in.

Toyed with the idea of starting a business but aren’t confident you’ll succeed? Go for it.

Know down deep that you really do need to make that change? Don’t think about it… just take that first step.

As they say, the only actions you’ll regret when you’re older are the ones you didn’t take.

By 6 p.m. tomorrow, I will be thankful I rushed into the decision to sign up for the course. And the next time I have to drive out of town in sketchy weather, I’ll be doubly thankful.

Until then, I’ll be busy trying to distract myself from remembering. Wish me luck!

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