Sunday, June 19, 2011

Try It: Walking in Alone

An email popped into my Inbox a few days ago that scared and excited me. It seemed like the internet had tapped into my brain! The subject said, "Is it time for a change?" I nodded, a little creeped out, and read on about the upcoming seminar, Making a Break for It.

I want to make a break, but it's so hard to go it alone.

One of the scariest things for most people is walking into a party or event when you don't know anyone. My oldest son was in that situation last week when his academic school year ended and he moved into summer camp. Some kids are comfortable with change, this one isn't. He cried and hid his face against my leg and asked to stay home, but I knew that if we could help him handle this new environment, we would all be a lot happier.

I asked him to give it a try, and I expected him to agree with this suggestion, because it's completely reasonable. "Try it," I reasoned. "You already know one friend there from kindergarten, and both of your brothers are also there."

He's been there about a week, and I know it's going to be a great summer for him. After his first day, he held my hand as we walked up the stairs from him classroom and he whispered, "I love it here." I'm sure part of him was a little reluctant to tell me because he didn't want to hear "I told you so!" And I didn't say that at all, instead I hugged him and let him know I was excited for him and so glad that he was happy. I wanted to validate the fact he chose to walk into that uncharted territory, navigated the whole day on his own, and discovered something fun.

Summer camp isn't really a metaphor for life but forcing yourself to try things is a daily part of life.

I'm so cavalier about encouraging my kids to try new things, but I am sometimes very, very slow at encouraging myself to try new things. New running routes are not hard to try. But listening to new music while running is usually out of the question. I always love finding a new book, but I usually don't venture out of certain favored genres. And new professional endeavors are one of the hardest things for me to try, but I'm moving forward anyway. I don't know what will happen but I've always wanted to know. And I remind myself that if I can learn how to handle this new environment, I think we'll all be a lot happier.

Are you an entrepeneur? Do you have tips or experience to share from walking in alone?