It took me over a year to change a light-bulb. Seriously, it did. It wasn’t a simple light-bulb mind you, it was a fluorescent tube that fits under the kitchen cupboards to shine light on the countertop and sink. What this means is that for more than 12 months the dishes and counters have probably not been cleaned all that thoroughly. The real point of this story is to share my mind-bubbles, the hesitant and anxious thoughts about removing the fluorescent tube from its holder. All types of wild and wooly thoughts would come to mind when I thought of the impending repair job – I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be able to do it, I’d break the tube and the glass would cut and injure me, I’d electrocute myself, I’d break the whole contraption, and on and on. How was I going to find a solution to this? Who would fix this for me? Who would I ask? And I did ask for help but nothing came to be. No new bulb. Then my light-bulb went off…I had an AHA.
I woke up one morning and remembered that there’s a plug and all I need to do is unplug the darn thing. The rest was a non-issue as the tube slipped effortlessly from its holder and the folks at the hardware store were superb in helping me find what I needed. Came back home, slipped it back in and voila, light once more.
What’s the point of this story? Yes, it’s to highlight the way our minds can help us procrastinate on a simple task. But it’s also to consider the numerous occasions we believe that we need someone else to fix it for us or do it with us – it could be fixing something, going to a movie or concert, dining out, buying a car, balancing the cheque-book, networking at an event, going to a party, doing the laundry - and we don’t learn to do it ourselves and for ourselves. It’s those dreaded fears of not being capable, or of doing it alone and being alone.
The thing is, it’s in this very space of Doing It Yourself that mastery, confidence, courage and independence come alive. The difference is that you now have a choice. You can ask someone for help and support OR you can Do It Yourself.
A book I’d recommend for those who are wanting to grow their DIY confidence in social and networking situations is Susan RoAne’s "How to Work a Room: Your Essential Guide to Savvy Socializing” (2007). She writes with humour on how to work any room and busts any wild and wooly thoughts you may have about doing it. It will give you a whole new perspective on going out on your own.