Normalizing all that’s NEW. . .


Today I listened to Brene Brown’s new podcast, Unlocking Us, available at:

In this initial broadcast she talks about HER discomfort with being “new” at things and this is a sentiment I absolutely share.  I mostly hate being new, unfamiliar and bumbling with technology.  Every semester, there’s been some new technology to master and that has, for me, been the most uncomfortable part of being back in the University as a student. 

Right now, we’re all dealing with being “new” at staying home alone or in the company of our household members and for many of us this is a very uncomfortable new normal.  None of us likes the discomfort that comes with being “new” – we feel embarrassed, incompetent and, unfortunately stuck.  The discomfort of doing new things is, according to Brown, the Secret Sauce of living! She says plainly: “Learning how to stay standing in the midst of feeling unsteady and uncertain – that’s the beginning of courage!”

Her wisdom to us all is:

  • Name the emotional mess we’re all feeling – like shame that I can’t figure out this supposedly simple app, disappointment that my friend didn’t call when she said she would, feeling clumsy and awkward doing yoga over Zoom in my ill-equipped living room.
  • Normalize the feeling/situation – recognize that everyone else experiences the same sorts of chaotic emotions that I’m feeling and give myself (yourself?) a break. Put it into perspective!
  • Reality check your expectations – Oh, I’m NOT going to crush this? Oh, okay.  I’m actually going to suck at it (not something I’m accustomed to!) and yet, getting used to this struggle with “new” reminds me that I’m so totally human. Just like everybody else.

Most of you know, I’m a 5-Type on the Enneagram – a total head-case.  Living in my head has been my life-long endeavor, a pattern I’m struggling to break.  Lately, coaching has been the place where I’ve had the best chance to practice living from my heart (not my head) and as is always the case, it is my clients who teach me exactly what I need to learn. It is for me one more place where I struggle with the feeling of being “new” at things I’d love to say I’ve mastered.  I haven’t.

The future is uncertain (that’s a certainty).  Most of us, me included, are facing a long list of new things. For me, that list of “new” includes building a coaching practice (now that school is over), preparing for the certification exam which means studying all summer, building a new office which requires construction guys in my house and launching a website that really works – at a cost that means, for me, a genuine “gulp-swallow” and trusting the Universe that the pay-off will come. 

I would recommend Brene’s podcast to everyone.  It has (as her books have) helped me figure out what’s really important for me in this new and unusual slice of life.  She reminds us that we’re living in a time that is “harder than we thought” – and for me, just learning to admit that my emotional state is unsettled, in upheaval, unstable and confusing – that’s a lot! it is terribly unfamiliar territory and at some level, we’re all in this together!

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