Do I take myself to the local Judo club or not? I was nine years old. Despite my fears, my anxieties, my negative thoughts, I made the choice to go. Walking there I felt the fear in my chest. Crushing. The fear got worse with every step that moved me closer to the Judo club. My head filled with thoughts. With questions. What if I can’t do what they show me? Who will I partner with? There was more, but you get the picture. On arrival fearful, anxious, tight chest, heart pounding, eyes lowered, quiet voice, fidgeting hands I went in. I was greeted by and offered a warm welcome from the Sensei. What a kind man I thought. I immediately began to feel safe. I calmed. I knew then that I wanted to work hard that evening. And, at the end of that session I knew I wanted to learn all I could from my Sensei.
On the way home with aching limbs, a bruise or two, but feeling happy I had found my courage to jump through my fears, anxieties and negative thoughts to take myself to the Judo club, I thought about what next? How long would I go to Judo? I decided, and made a commitment with myself that I would go to Judo every Tuesday evening for one year and see how I got on. This I did. I embraced all that my Sensei taught me. I got on very well.
Only many years later, when asking myself what formative experiences have shaped who I have become, did I appreciate the learning I took from this experience. Accepting that there is fear, anxiety and negative thoughts in getting to a choice point, making the choice, then engaging one’s courage to take a first step, accepting support from others, thinking of the long-game, and the impact that my choice will have in the future, for me and others. At age nine I took unknowingly my first step towards becoming who I am now, and, how I work. Many thanks to that little boy of nine. You made a good choice. My hope is that by creating this Blog is as good a choice. We’ll see!
I’m curious. What has been a formative experience that has shaped who you are? And, how you work?