Fear, Accomplishment, and Major Decisions?

I’ve spent the last few weeks obsessing about a project. It was very detailed and involved organizing a lot of very technical information. I’m bad at details, I was scared of making mistakes interpreting the technical details, and generally spent a lot of time freaking out in front of my spreadsheets. (Not to mention complaining to my sister, mother, significant other, bestie from high school, Scripps friends, etc…)

But the last few days I’ve been in a meeting at which the fruits of my labor, cards visualizing the development scheduling of different applications’ pieces of interfaces, are displayed all over the wall. My cards are driving the discussion, and as intended, getting moved around and edited. I’ll be updating the spreadsheet to keep track of key changes. Despite my fears of being known as the intern who messed up the big meeting, I’ve been getting a lot of great acknowledgement from my team and the larger project for my work.

This has become a bit of a pattern for me, both in my blog posts (sorry for the repetition!) and in my personal life. I think that I am not up to a challenge, but I am. I imagine every permutation of failure, work really hard, and then…don’t fail. This feels good. It might not be the most efficient or reasonable way to get work done (I wish I could skip the self-doubt part) but it does work for me. And this process, silly as it may sound, is actually an improvement personally from a time where I would get stuck in my worries and never overcome my fears.

I think I’ve gotten better at getting through my crisis worry mode because of practice. Successfully taking math, a subject that reduced me to tears in high school, has acclimated me to tackling the unfamiliar and challenging. I know how to work through the scary stuff, even though it still scares me. The way through is just lots of work, lots of time, and lots of questions. It sounds obvious, but it can be terrifying to do all of those things when the possibility of failure, and all that effort wasted, looms.

I’m a firm believer that practice makes perfecter (clearly I haven’t quite achieved perfection in grammar). Thinking about this habit in my work life and my academic life has helped me solidify my plan to major in Mathematical Economics. Economics fascinates me, and math both interests me and scares me out of my wits. But I want to keep on practicing working through that fear, because out in the working world, I’m going to encounter problems that seem unsolvable. I want the toolkit to face those problems down.

One thought on “Fear, Accomplishment, and Major Decisions?

  1. Thanks for sharing this Mia. I’m still daunted by big projects, sometimes wondering if I can really complete them, though it it something I’ve gotten better at diving into as I’ve gotten further into my career. Congrats on the great progress in your internship!

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