I don’t follow directions well.
Let’s take cooking for example. I don’t need to watch Hell’s Kitchen because I go there every day. After all these years I have not yet cured myself of the irresistible impulse to skim a set of recipe instructions, nod my head sagely, and counsel myself, “well, let’s get started then – how hard could it be?”
Quite hard, and quite often, as it turns out, although I can’t discount the frequent opportunity for valuable key learnings such as:
• Spray non-stick cooking spray into skillet, THEN turn on gas flame
• Timers are there for a reason (also, unburned cookies taste better than burned ones)
• Steaming brussels sprouts is easier when you add water to the pot
• Before cooking, thoroughly consider ordering takeout
Yet I persist.
I remember how when I was little, my mother (who is a Top Chef if ever I’ve tasted one) did her best to teach me how to cook. Overconfidence coupled with what I am still convinced is undiagnosed ADD worked its magic, and while my brother learned to prepare such delicacies as egg-in-a-hole and (much later) lemon chicken with capers, I did what all overconfident little girls do under their mother’s tutelage – dissociate.
I could say I was just not interested in cooking….then, or now.
I could say it – but that wouldn’t be true.
The fact is, today I have a giant (well at least a small cookie-sized) hole in my self-esteem where cooking confidence should be.
Today, I am still afraid to entertain guests around my own table (for the twin obvious reasons that poisoned guests generally don’t return, and they also don’t tend to say nice things about the so-called chef behind her back).
Today, at 39, I continue to avoid even a hint of perceived willingness to take my turn at food-related hosting duties….and not because I don’t want to, and not even because I couldn’t pull it off (see “takeout” above), but because when the teacher first appeared, I wasn’t ready.
Today, I have allowed the memory of not being willing to accept help the first several (hundred) times it was offered to affect my sense of what is possible even now, when I am ready, and do want to learn.
The truth is, my mom is still willing to teach me to cook. She still tries every time I visit (think “matador with red cape” and you’ll have a good picture of the subtle hints she sends my way).
We have mentors all around us, waiting to serve. But before we can benefit from their wisdom, knowledge, and life experience, we have to be willing to call it a new day, muster up all (and I do mean ALL) of our courage, put our past memories and present resulting fears and insecurities aside, open up our hearts and our minds and our mouths, and say….
Today’s takeaway: Think of one area, big or small, in your life where you’ve been feeling stuck, scared, or cheated out of today’s opportunity to learn by remembrance of your own past less-than-courageous choices. It could be balancing your checkbook, baking brownies, beginning a new project….whatever it is, I guarantee you that there is someone else in your sphere of influence who both can and wants to help – IF you will let them.
So here is something you can try, if you are willing:
1. Grab your journal, and on a fresh page, jot down a description of one area where you are really wanting to make a change, and you know you need help to do it
2. Next, on that same page, write down the name of the first person who comes to your mind whom you believe could help you make that change
3. Finally, write down a few brainstormed ideas about how you could go about asking that person for help
4. And be sure to report back and let us know how it goes so we can be inspired – and spurred on – by your courage and success!