March 25, 2024

The Discomfort of First Times

This week's episode is about first times and we'll discuss mindset and expectations when trying new things, sharing personal experiences and insights.

From launching a podcast to getting back into activities after a hiatus, we'll uncover the vulnerability and discomfort that comes with taking on something new or revisiting old pursuits.

If you're interested in delving deeper into conversations like these and exploring ways to work through the challenges of navigating first times, consider checking out the opportunities for one-to-one executive coaching and team coaching in the links below.

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Big shout out to my podcast magician, Marc at iRonickMedia for making this real.

Thanks for listening!


I think one of the most unspoken aspects of personal development is that it's all about discomfort. It's not about making you feel better. It's about sitting in the discomfort and seeing that as the data itself. So, the next time you find yourself facing your first time, then remember it's okay to feel unsteady. okay to feel frustrated, annoyed, uncomfortable, not wanting to be here. You know, what matters is it you're you're showing up. You're trying you're trying something new, you're embracing the full spectrum of of life. And welcome to unset at work, I am your host, Katherine Stagg Macy. I'm an executive and team coach interested in the conversations that we don't have at work. And today, I want to talk to you about mindset, and expectation that your mindsets and expectations around trying new things. Midlife has taught me that trying new things, or going back to things that I have done for quite a while, doesn't actually come that easily to me, I have this view of myself, that I'm good at most things, not my first rodeo, I've been around the block a few times. And I've done most things. And so I have this sort of irrational view of myself that I'm good at things. And so when it comes to new things, I think I should have some proficiency at it just sounds it sounds crazy. But that is kind of kind of how I find myself, it comes down to certain types of things, I have no expectations of myself learning something new, like a musical instrument or rock climbing and being brilliant at it. But to do something new, that's adjacent to what I already do, then I have a much higher expectations of my abilities. So like learning a different form of coaching, so I know how to coach one to one so I you know, move to team coaching, then I should be pretty good at the starting block with that, right? There's a little voice in my head that goes it's just another form of coaching, how hard can it be. And then when it gets hard, I struggle and I beat myself up. And because of this huge expectations gap, and you're being new at something is it's vulnerable, it's exposing it's it's awkward thing I speak for myself, and maybe you can relate so much of how I want to be seen in the world as capable and competent, knowing my stuff. So facing something new, or going back to something I haven't done for a while is uh not being good at it is uncomfortable. Maybe you can relate if you think, you know, maybe had to learn a new skill as part of your role, maybe locked down threw you into situations that you've never experienced, like leading a team remotely. Or maybe it's been, it's been a while maybe it's been like a decade since your last job interview. And here you are back on the job market. Maybe it's the first time you've been made redundant or maybe it's the first time you've had to make someone in your team redundant. So there's all these sort of first times that we experienced even when or whatever age that we're at, that has us back into being into the sort of first time mindset I'll share experience with you from my life around this podcast, actually. So there was almost almost two years ago, summer 2022 And I decided I was going to launch this podcast. And it just felt really uncomfortable. I didn't know I mean, I could listen to all the things about how the best tips and speak to the people in new stuff. But I felt very exposed. And so I over planned and I ever thought and I ever worried about every aspect. I changed the music intro I think three times. I got a friend of mine to record something and then I didn't I just missed that foot and I went for something that you could buy. I took, I think seven attempts with a recording of the introduction episode, which is about a three minute piece seven attempts of re recording that thing every single time before I was happy with it. And the first interview that I did, I don't think it's I think it's episode one of this whole podcast I practice scripts every single question I could think of that I would possibly want to ask the first guest I think it was what a page and a half of questions which when you think about it having a having a conversation with a guest it's pretty hard to have a proper conversation with someone and you got that many questions and Ron you so I do I did. What I often do, when I'm feel so uncomfortable is I try and control the hell out of the process or at least attempt to. So I sort of prompt you I try to project manage my way through the discomfort and you to not feel the discomfort. And then the first episode went out and I was I was really kind of worried about what people would think about it. I forget that but I is as Edie reminded me on the end of season one podcast episode. I did worry about it. It was exposing the stand up there and put your body of work out there in the form of podcasts. Was it a waste of time we'll find a boring guy it was like being back on the playground with all the all the fear of what the insults might come at you as you stand there kind of expose in the middle of a play Build. And that's what first times are about. Bernie Brown calls them first fucking times, I'm just gonna go with first times. You know, first times are those their vulnerability moments on steroids, you know, it's about uncertainty, it's about risk. It's about emotional exposure, that's everything wrapped up in a first time, the first time that you're doing something you have no experience to draw on, you have no data to lean into. You don't know how this is going to turn out because it is the first time. And so the question for for you and for me is like are we willing to show up and be seen when we can't control the outcome. And I find that really hard not being able to control outcomes. And first time isn't always about the first time ever, like the first time you've ever done something in your entire life, it could be the first time you're doing something you haven't done. For a long time. Maybe it's been a hot minute, since you've had a job interview, and you're back on the job market. Or maybe you're stepping back into dating. After years of being married. My own version of this was getting back into Friday, and I didn't dance class. So there was a two and a half year hiatus because of COVID, we'd run this Friday night class for four years before in the round, COVID. Smooth, we had everything sorted out the venue was perfect chance system was great. But in this, you know, after this hiatus, I decided to relaunch the Friday night class. But it was of course, a different venue, things have changed. So different venue, new sound system, different crowd of people, because of course, people have moved on people have changed. I completely forgotten how to mix music. thought was just part of our DNA in 2019. And I've completely forgotten about it. And so at all this kind of feeling ungrounded one person leaves halfway, and then I just sort of mentally check out. There's just sort of abandon the mentally abandon the people in the room for the worry about there's one person who left and now let me promise you 2019, I would not have I would have been more grounded and not not have been so thrown by something like that. So this is a, this is a hot version of a first time. It just gets masters getting back into what we're used to. But my mind is like I will I used to do this all day, every Friday now like How hard can it be? It was incredibly hard and a real shock to me at how hard it was. And I think about it, it was a first time. So there's much more kindness, compassion, if I can hold it, then that kind of way. And the discomfort was was excruciating, right? And that's what first times asked for versus to face their capacity to decide to face the discomfort rather to see it as discomfort. And I think that's the starting place is if you see, first times as a perspective, name it for what it is. Why am I confused? You know, why? Why does this feel so awkward? Why does this was a hard? You know, I'm doing this for the first time ever, or I haven't done this for such a long time. Am I starting again? Okay. That's why I feel like this. Okay. So that's, that's step one is name what it is, I mean, the next step is, is just reality, check your expectations. If it is the first time it's going to be much heavier lift than you expect, on it on every aspect on the emotions on the resources that you have to draw on. It's going to take you twice as long as you think and be 10 times as hard as you think it might be. That's all okay, you're managing your expectations. This is the first time and it's going to be harder than things that you're used to doing. It's just a great leveler. I think embracing first time there's not about you know, being the boss of discomfort and mastering this comfort, it's just about recognizing it. And sitting with it. I think one of the most unspoken aspects of personal development is that it's all about discomfort. It's not about making you feel better, it's about setting in the discomfort and seeing that as the data itself. So, the next time you find yourself facing a first time, then remember it's okay to feel it's okay to feel unsteady. It's okay to feel frustrated, annoyed, uncomfortable, not wanting to be here. You know, what matters is that you're you're showing up, you're trying you're trying something new, you're embracing the full spectrum of life. So, thanks for being a listener here on unseen at work. I hope this little chat about first times was helpful. And if you you know, these are the kinds of conversations you want to be having. Check out how we could work together I open up spots quarterly for one to one executive coaching and about twice a year for team coaching. could find the link to going on how to work with me in the shownotes there's also other ways of hanging out with me for free on the newsletter or ask the agony aren't column is there as well. So this is your wingman signing off until next week.