I’m willing to bet you’ve done this as often as I have – something comes up which is making progress, which could be momentous (in a small or great way), and you tell someone about it and they get really excited for and with you.
“That’s so great! Oh my word! Amazing!”
And then the response kicks in.
“Well…don’t get too excited yet.”
There are all kinds of reasons we default to this response. We’re being practical – all the pieces haven’t come together yet. We’re being careful – we’ve been disappointed before. We’re being realistic – not everything works out as expected.
For me it’s a sort of knee jerk reaction which connects to my “fear of failure”. I was talking with our Ops Director Alice about my book, and about perfectionism, and I said “oh I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist – I don’t really care if there’s a spelling mistake”. She said “what about the fear of failure? That’s an aspect of perfectionism too”.
Ohhhh yes. 100% I have that. I get to the 90% point with a big project and then slow down. Or stop. Or go backwards.
Because when you’re still in the middle, the grind, it’s so far away you haven’t even had a chance to truly imagine what it will be like when it happens.
My book, published.
My new house on Mull, and me living there.
PF fully scaled and not needing me day to day.
You think you’re imagining how great it will be. But then suddenly you get really close – you view the house, or the book manuscript gets to the FINAL FINAL document, and suddenly you panic a little.
This might actually happen!
How do I deal with it then? Will it happen? What if it doesn’t? Then I’ll be super disappointed! I’ve had that before! Best to be careful and cautious and pull back on the reins and…
…not get too excited.
And if someone else gets excited for me, I dampen their enthusiasm too. If they get excited then I might get excited again and, well, we couldn’t have that.
So what I’m working on now is saying fuck that, yes, I WILL be excited. I’ll choose to be excited. Yay, this thing is coming! It’s damn close anyway, and if things go wonky (like a broken ankle derailing your moving plans), you deal with that when and if it happens.
Cos it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, things work out. Actually, a lot of times they work out. And that whole “I don’t want to get too excited in case it doesn’t happen” rubbish is just that: utter rubbish. It’s not as if I won’t be disappointed if things fall apart a little (or a lot). I will. And refusing the bubbling excitement simply removes a little extra joy I could have had in the waiting.
So I’m letting the excitement in. Or I’m trying to. A lifetime of the “ohhh, CAREFUL! It might not happen!” habit takes a good while to reset.
But I’ll do my darnedest, next time one of you gets excited on my behalf for something coming, to be excited with you.
Let’s let it in!