I just finished reading a book from The Domino Project called The Flinch (link opens to Amazon) by Julien Smith. It is a brief (and FREE!!) book about confronting the flinch. It opens by reminding the reader how the flinch is a biological imperative that used to protect us from serious danger. It still serves this purpose, but through advancements in medicine, technology, and science (to name a few), this imperative has now been diminished to daily interactions. Smith references how we flinch when confronted with the smallest task. For example, calling a stranger on the phone for this first time. This can be debilitating for some people (and something I personally despise doing).
As I was reading, I realized that I flinch way more than I confront the flinch. I tiptoe around difficult conversations. I chicken out when I have the chance to post something that I find truly influential. I am paralyzed in social situations around people I don’t know. These are some of my flinches, but there are many more.
So, I have decided to stop letting these be barriers. I am going to “flinch forward” as Smith coins in his book and use the momentum to get me through the situation. I have been taking steps in this direction already. I just didn’t have the words to describe it. I decided it would be best to jot some of these thoughts down here to help hold myself accountable.
- I want to learn from the best people in their fields. This means I need to contact them. So, that is exactly what I am going to do. I have a Google+ Hangout with one of them tomorrow (02.06.12). I will be reaching out to another next week. This flinch has been a fear of rejection. If they say no, then oh well, it looks like they say no. However, I won’t know until I try. My plan is to interview a different person each month and post my insights from those conversations.
- I want to expand my social circles. The flinch in this instance is the same as #1. As crazy as this sounds, I AM ABSOLUTELY CRIPPLED IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS. I fear saying something stupid, seeming unintelligent, or coming across as weird. This fear makes it extremely difficult to meet new people and put myself out there. Well, the 2012 ACPA Annual Convention will be my opportunity to shed this flinch. I am pushing myself to randomly meet people and generate new relationships with others.
- Blazing a new path. I find myself frustrated not by my job, but by the ineffectiveness of institutions (my current one in particular) to develop a shared message and communicate it effectively to its constituents. This leads me into my desire to develop a series of something (I am not sure quite what yet), to help institutions better understand the importance of a shared message and its ability to communicate that message to others. I have no idea where this will take me, but something I realized I am extremely passionate about and going to pursue. My flinch in this instance is the unknown. Where will this take me? I have absolutely no idea, but I know one thing: I would love help along the way. So, if you are interested hit me up!
This is how I am planning on confronting the flinches in my life. I suggest taking the time to read the book (like I said it is free, so there shouldn’t be an excuse). And figure out how you can start confronting the flinches in your life.
I have shared some of my flinches. What are some of yours?