I recently read an amazing short book called ‘The Flinch’ by Julien Smith. The book is a call to step out of your comfort zone and not only face that gut-tightening flinch, but walk through that bad boy! Good stuff.
One of the ‘homework’ assignments in the book is to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Talk about gut-tightening! I am pretty leery of people I don’t know, so the thought of talking to some random person did not feel good to me. That was the purpose of the exercise, though, to feel the discomfort and proceed in spite of it.
After reading the assignment, I went for my daily walk. I was thinking about the challenge but not really focusing on it. I was coming to the end of my walk when I spied a woman sitting on a bench alone. I decided she was my stranger. lol I took a deep breath and approached her. I said ‘Hello’ when I was still a few feet away because I didn’t want to startle her. She didn’t respond, so I repeated myself. Still no response. I got closer and saw she was wearing headphones, so I waved to get her attention. I was just about to launch in my speech about being challenged to speak to a stranger, when the strangest thing happened. She did not look directly at me, did not talk to me or acknowledge me in any way. She grabbed her cup, stood up and walked away! While she may not have been able to hear me because of her headphones, she certainly could see me, I was right there! I was speechless (which is quite a feat for me). I wasn’t giving up that easily, though, so I followed her for a few steps all the while calling out to her: “Ma’am, I didn’t want to disturb you! I didn’t want your bench!” She never turned around, just kept walking. When she came to the crosswalk, she veered right and I kept straight. I gave up. I was not interested in chasing that woman through the park (any more than I already had lol).
I continued my walk with a myriad of questions flying through my head, the most prevelant being ‘WTF was that?’ lol The more I walked, the clearer I became, though. The phrase ‘The devil is in the DOING’ came to me. Just doing it was the challenge, right? And I did it. Her motivation for her actions did not matter at all. I faced my ‘flinch’ and did it anyway. That experience, though weird and funny (picture me chasing her down the trail trying to explain 🙂 ) was valuable for me and I’m glad I did it.
If you get a chance, check out ‘The Flinch’. It’s FREE on Amazon.com. It’s a great book. If you do read it, I’d love to hear about your ‘flinches’ and how you walked through them. Remember, ‘the devil is in the DOING’ and do it anyway!