I refer to Scary Mary as the one that shows up when you are about to do something that is out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes she even brings her mates!
Stick with the ‘shoe’ thing – all will be revealed!
Scary Mary will often show herself when you are taking a step into the unknown or taking a leap towards a goal for the greater good.
Often we play safe and keep on doing things in a way that we know to be comfortable. This way we don’t get found out by Scary Mary. Sadly, this is generally the time when playing safe is a luxury we can ill afford.
Quite often we can find ourselves plunged into change that we hadn’t planned for. And never one to miss an opportunity for a holiday, this will be when Scary Mary turns up with her suitcase. She will bang on for hours about ‘pitfalls’ and ‘shoulds’ until we want to jump into her suitcase and hide.
What can be really confusing though is when we really do want to make a leap. And then out of nowhere, we are suddenly overwhelmed with ‘what-ifs’. I can only assume that ‘What If’ is a distant relative of Scary Mary that shows up when she is busy.
It is generally the case that the thing that terrifies us the most is the thing that ultimately pushes us on to something better.
I say this with confidence as I know that this is certainly the case for me.
The phone call we don’t want to make, the meeting we don’t want to go to or the event that we are about to attend – the one that scares the hell out of us. I’m sure you can think of more examples.
A fear of failing, looking daft, supposing this happens, supposing no one is interested, I really shouldn’t be doing this, this is absurd. And so it goes on.
A fear of failure and success in equal measure. Scary May gets her overtime sheet out when you are doing well. She will take the place of the ex ‘Angry Boss’ and insist that you stay small.
At times like this and when we feel this way, it is very hard to imagine what might happen if we just allow ourselves to show up.
That we might actually get the gig or stumble upon a true gem.
I always work on the logic that whenever I am about to do something ‘scary’, there will always be at least one benefit to having ‘shown up’.
I’m sure even the most confident of people have to give themselves a pep talk in the toilet sometimes. I comfort myself with this fact.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m also a realist. There will be those times when the best advice is to stay home and wash our hair – these are generally the exception and not the rule.
One of the biggest examples for me of ‘showing up’ was being dragged along to a business networking event by a dear friend many years ago.
To say that I was terrified is an understatement. It was one of those events where I was scared to shake hands with anyone for fear of sweaty palm syndrome whilst at the same time praying that no one would ask me about myself. I stayed terrified during the whole event despite having a great time.
And I went again and again.
That event was probably one of my defining moments. I met people that day who I consider to be among my closest friends now and I have to say that the people and business owners I have met, and continue to meet through networking, have taught me more than I have ever learned anywhere else.
Equally, there is generally always humour around at times of a wobble. It means you get to sit in the loo having a pep talk with yourself while giggling at the same time. It is when we are trying to act normal that we find ourselves doing or saying the most random of things. If you happen to find someone that also finds it funny, you’ve probably got yourself a friend for life.
And the shoe bit?
I once went to an interview which involved climbing lots of narrow stairs. So narrow that I had to walk sideways. A bit like a crab. Naturally, I wore my ‘bestest’ high heels. Just as naturally one came off and bonk, bonk, bonked down the stairs in slow motion past the interviewer. This meant that I had to hop down the stairs in my suit to reclaim the shoe at the bottom while trying to make a ‘normal’ conversation about it. That was interesting.
At the moment when you really need someone to be authentic with you and laugh, the interviewer appeared to have gone into shock. It was a choice between saving the shoe or giving her mouth to mouth. I drew the line at making a Cinderella crack or any mention of a ‘shoe in?’
Sometimes you just know that you aren’t the person specified. This lady and I were never going to laugh together at our shortcomings.
What she didn’t know was that it was my first interview in years and me getting back into the world of work after a couple of years away. I really could have done without the ‘shoe’ thing but boy did I laugh that night!!!
No amount of over-planning could have prevented that one. There is always an element of fate in our day. And I think sometimes it’s the over-planning that is part of the problem.
Because shoes will always be shoes and they are unpredictable.
Scary Mary is also unpredictable.
She comes and she goes. She will rarely share any wisdom or advice. She will be clean out of ideas and she will certainly never warn you against wearing stilettos.
So that’s me. How about you?
Do you glide into new situations naturally and with ease or do you skid in with your shoes glued on and a comforter in your bag?
PS No offence if your name is Mary by the way!