First Days

“As they made their way to the MedBay a sudden feeling of fear washed over her again, but more intense this time.  Alphie had always worked solo until she joined the bootcamp a year ago.  She’d done leadership exercises during that time and it was ok when it was Neil and the others, but this, this was for real.  These were real life people who would be looking to her for guidance and direction.  And they would know her history.  Either expecting her to be amazing – which meant she would be dramatic disappointment for them.  Or they would expect her to be awful – and that she could manage.  But she didn’t want to disappoint them or confirm their suspicions either, she wanted to do this right…

Alphie paused at the door, before stepping over the threshold and doing it with very slow and deliberate movements.  She wanted to remember this moment because it was as though she were stepping into her new found skin.  Her heart began to beat a little faster, but it didn’t make her afraid, it was urging her to be brave.  To enjoy this new feeling and to let go of her previous life.  This was a new landscape, a new frontier and the anticipation became thrilling.”

A passage from the novel I am working on

A few weeks ago I held a Gather & Share Digital Campfire to discuss the “My First Day…” stories among us and opened the conversation with this passage from my novel.

We discussed how starting new things always carries a phase of awkwardness and lack of knowledge – you don’t know what you don’t know.  So then, knowing all that now, it might pay to expect this and not give ourselves such a hard time on Day 1.  Just embrace and enjoy that glorious time of anonymity when you weren’t the go-to-of-all-things. 

A few themes emerged: 

First days can be overwhelming and filled with masses of information. Mix in with that the fear of judgement by others on your first impressions, finding your boundaries and setting them. So, what’s might be the learning opportunity for you? Often by presenting a shielded persona may not serve us, because we end up with people we don’t want to be with. Then becoming more “you” as you go along becomes more challenging and in the long run wastes time. Interpersonal relationships can be the foundations for future relationships good and bad.  So ultimately, next time it’s a first day start mapping place and people, learn the rules, set the boundaries, and be yourself as soon as possible.

It makes these awkward moments of emerging conscious incompetence much more digestible if there is a cause or mission or greater purpose behind them.  

Find the familiar – that feeling of home, even when you are somewhere new. Embrace stepping into the unknown world of place and people – find the wonderment and excitement of innocence.  

First days are very different to first times – first days are a phase, period of time and a journey with highs and lows.  Look to end on a high before day two.  As day two evolves into the road to mastery.

Also, to expect surprises, you never quite know how things are going to play out or who you might meet.  It often comprises of making new connections – mapping the lay of the land and mapping the people you encounter. Who does what and where?  #isthereanappforthat ???

And it almost always pays to have a coach or a guide.  Some who has walked the path before and can help you navigate, and who will allow you the space to practice and build on your determination – beyond your initial excitement to get started.  This really helps when the going gets tough and you hit a dip.  The same goes for when there is a team you can lean on and get through it together. One day, you might be a Sherpa or mentor for someone else and they will appreciate the guidance, just as you did once.

This November’s Gather & Share Campfire is Self-Sabotage. We would love to hear your story and help you unpack it a little more so you know what to look out for in the future.

You can sign up here.

Now it’s your turn to tell me

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