Intimidation is Just a Word

It’s easy to be intimidated by things you’ve never done before. Intimidation can stop you from doing things you’re probably capable of — if you let it — or intimidation can be just a word. It’s up to you.

Many times we pay others to do things that we could easily do ourselves — not because we don’t want to take the time or make the effort, but because we’re afraid we won’t do it right. We’re intimidated. Worse, many times we don’t do things that we would really love to do out of fear or a belief that we won’t be any good at it. Other people make it look so easy, but we don’t know where to start, and we’re sure we could never do something like that.

Well you know what?

No one is good at everything they try right off the bat. Some people are more talented in some areas than others, but no one ever starts out as an expert. And even experts mess up sometimes. Olympic athletes stumble and fall at key moments. The difference is, they get back up again, and then they try harder, practice longer, and get help from their coach.

While you may not aspire to the Olympics, you might want to do things around the house yourself or take up a new hobby. Or you might want to learn new skills that could help you earn more money, or help you better manage the money you have now.

What’s the worst that could happen?

If you’re feeling intimidated by something you’d like to do, think about the possible worst-case scenario. Literally ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” — and then estimate how likely it actually is to happen.

Once you’ve done that, figure out how to minimize the risk if you still want to move forward. Take steps to prevent the worst case by spending a little time understanding what’s involved and what others have done. Maybe get someone to go through the process with you the first time, find step-by-step directions online that can help, or take a course.

Of course it’s still possible that you might mess up something that you’ve never done before, but it’s not always the end of the world if you do get it wrong. (Depending on what you’re trying to do, of course — I wouldn’t mess around with things that are expert-level when I’m a novice.)

Start simple, and keep going

You can always start simple, too. For example, it took me quite a while to work up the nerve to dye my hair myself. I figured I’d probably turn it purple on accident, or end up dyeing my skin instead. And you know what? I did turn my hair this noticeably purple-ish color early on. It wasn’t what I was going for, but it also wasn’t the end of the world. I figured some people dye their hair purple on purpose, so I just left it that way. Surprisingly, someone at work told me it looked cool. And then I tried again the next time, and got it right. Also, I’ve only dyed my finger black twice since then. (I now realize that I need to wear thicker gloves.)

Success, right?

Remember, intimidation is just a word. Get past it, and you’ll be successful by trying new things — and then not letting failure get you down if they doesn’t go 100% perfectly the first time. Failure is feedback, and a message to adjust and keep right on trying. And when you do succeed, it’s sweet.

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