Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Embracing the Fear...and Letting It Go

I've been rather introspective lately, given that I now seem to have a lot of "free" time. What could I have done differently at work that would have prevented the company from being in the situation that led to the layoff? What am I going to do next? How do I move forward?

One theme that comes up again and again is fear. Not the fear that one would feel if in a dangerous situation, but fear of...the unknown, of failing, and, strangely enough, of succeeding.

During the last week or so at work, given the incredible time pressure that we were under and the ramifications of the project not coming in on time (ironically, it did come in on time and we got the boot anyway; I think there's a lesson there), my mantra was "Let go of the fear." What was I afraid of? I was afraid of disappointing the customer and letting the Sales Engineer down. I was afraid the company would look incompetent (which it most definitely isn't). I was afraid the developers would get discouraged because we were finding too many severe bugs (which was our mission, so go figure).

When faced with fear (especially in the absence of danger), it's helpful to ask "What's the absolute worst thing that can happen?" And more often than not, the answer proves to be not life-threatening, not dire, and very manageable. In this case of our project, the customer would find severe problems that we didn't find and we'd have to work very hard to get them a fix quickly. Yes, it would look bad initially, but there is an opportunity to provide excellent customer service and gain the customer's loyalty. Would the experience be painful? Yes. Will the lessons be valuable? Again, yes. So, after a bit of analysis, there really isn't much to be afraid of.

I need to apply the same philosophy to my knitting. Take a look at the WIPs in the sidebar. There are lots of them and some of them are more than a year old. Why? Part of the reason is that I'm a slow knitter. But the other part is that I'm afraid to continue. I've reached a point where my knitting skills are challenged and I'm afraid that in continuing I'll make bad mistakes and the piece will be ruined, or it won't fit me, or it won't look good and I won't wear it. And the money and the time that I've spent will be wasted. (Duh! Isn't the time and money spent wasted by not finishing the project?)

So, as I enter this period of unemployment, I do hereby pledge that I will embrace the fear and let it go. I will set aside time every day to work on an old WIP. I will methodically (well, methodically might be taking it a little too far) start designing one of my ideas.

Extreme Knitting Challenge

We have the first contenders in the Extreme Knitting Challenge! Margene is in the lead so far, taking her knitting (by tram) to 11,000 feet at Snowbird in Utah, then to the desert:

Jen comes in as a very close second, taking her knitting on a backpacking trip up Mt. Hood, in Oregon. Here she is, knitting at 6,000 feet at Elk Cove:

What a gorgeous setting! I could be knitting there.

So, are there any folks in Colorado who want to take on one of 14,000 foot peaks? Perhaps all of them? I climbed Long's Peak (14,255') several years ago, but alas, I wasn't knitting at the time.

Keep those photos coming! As entries come in, I'll post the pictures and adjust the rankings.

Happy extreme knitting!


Anonymous said...

Oh fine, make me feel guilty for not visiting my folks in Colorado Springs. Add to the guilt by forcing me to climb (in the car - my knee can't take Barr Trail... and my sister has a couple pins in her hip from falling while running down Barr Trail... where was I?) Oh yeah, Pikes Peak. I will visit my folks and take a picture of something from the top. Then I will go to Pawnee Buttes and take that same something. That's as close as I am gettin to extreme knittin. I don't want to lose an arm, k?

Anonymous said...

If I can do it...anyone can.

Anastacia said...

I would so love to enter, but have no photos. Let's see, I've knit at the top of Cadillac Mountain, I've knitted while hiking up smaller mountains in Acadia National Park. I've knitted on the back of a two person bike (what are they called?). I've knitted while tending to a bonfire, until the wool caught on fire.