Leaning Into The Unknown Experiences

One blogger who I admire, Steve Pavlina, mentioned an approach to scary things in life. These are the things in life that are hard or different from what we are accustomed to. This could be starting a new business or sharing a new philosophy or idea with your spouse. He recommends a lean into it approach. I’ve found this type of approach to be very applicable to me. Quite often, I find myself just getting overjoyed or overwhelmed when I am trying something new if I don’t ease into it. And both take time to process and recharge from.

I look at the lean into it approach as dipping your toe in the water to see if the water is good. Now maybe the water is cold and you just have to get out, but maybe you like having your toe in that water. With a lean into it approach, you didn’t just jump in the water at once, you experience a small bit at a time to see if you really like the new experience. After your toe, maybe you dip your foot in, your leg, and then your whole body. Or maybe the water is too cold with your foot in, so you stop there. The lean into it approach to unknown experiences in life is proving to be one fo the best ways for me to try new things.

One of the areas I’ve been able to lean into it is at work with being a manager. The company didn’t come up to me one day and say, “Hey, we’ve decided to make you a manager. Get your people in order.” It’s been a very methodical and meticulous process. I have an awesome manager at work who recommended that I start by sharing my opinions in meetings with just the team. This approach was great because I knew that my team members wouldn’t bite my head off if I said something. I started doing this over the course of several months. I found that I liked it.

I later moved on to sharing my opinions with my manager and others in the company. It slowly became easier to do so. And now I like sharing my ideas. Even if they aren’t accepted, I’m okay with that. Because I’m now comfortable with it. But I wouldn’t have been comfortable if I was told out of the blue to go convince an executive of an idea when I first started. That would have been too much at one time and overwhelmed me.

These days, I’ve leaned into and am now a manager at work. I have a team of 4 people that I help mentor. Before I became the manager, I practiced doing this anyway, working with each team member and trying to help them along their way with guidance and assistance. I found that as I did this, I particularly like the empathy side of it. Meaning I really want to get to know my team and what makes them tick. What can I offer in the way of a listening ear, advice, council, and if necessary admonishment, to help them enjoy their work and get more out of it.

I’m realizing that life can just be hard in general. And often times people just need a listening ear or to know that someone cares or is thinking of them. And I was able to achieve this by leaning into being a manager by first working with one person on my team to try it out, and then another, and now I work with 4 people. And I’m by no means an expert and I have a lot more leaning in to do. Right now, I’m leaning in to how to talk about things to improve for each person. I don’t want to offend or anger anyone, so I’m choosing one thing for each person to work on, but sharing praise first. We’ll see how this approach goes.

Another thing I’m leaning into is my development using the Unity game engine. Games are in my blood and I’ve been doing them since I was a kid. Because Unity is such a complex software application, I’d get completely overwhelmed if I tried to learn it all at once. In this case, I am learning how to make a label appear on the screen first, then a checkbox. Then how to make a background, then how to make a button that you click. By leaning into learning the engine, and following a line upon line, precept upon precept (to quote an LDS scripture) approach, I’m not overwhelming myself but learning simple pieces at a time. Eventually, I know they will all tie together and I will be able to make something truly amazing.

There are other things I am leaning into in my life, but they are too personal to write about in this blog. The point I am trying to make is that the scary things in life are worth looking into and that using a lean into it approach makes them much more manageable. If you find you don’t like something, it’s okay and you leaned into it and didn’t get too far, so no harm done. But you may lean into something in your life that is scary, bold, or unknown. And you may find that you like it and want to lean a little more and a little more at a time, until the one thing that was scary is no longer so and you now have another dimension of life that is rich and rewarding.

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