Do you remember the last thing that you did for the very first time?
These moments usher us, every dang time, into a new level of our own human experience. What’s wild about the first time isn’t that we’ve done it, but that we felt everything we felt, and did it anyway. First times are full of everything we love and hate to feel: dread, trepidation, excitement, nervousness, doubt, and hope.
They’re their own personal roller coaster.
First day, first time, first try, firsts. Firsts.
But the older we get, the more experienced we get. We must not only embrace first times, but recognize first-time feelings and then continue to seek them out. Recognizing them can be hard, though. Super hard. Because if you don’t look closely at the moments where you’re on the cusp of expansion and growth, you see only fear and uncertainty.
This was me last week. I had some pre-meetings just before a big day. There were people I’d never met before. And more significantly, there were types of people I’d never worked with before. My whole body shuttered with discomfort. I found myself getting unsure. I was judging myself and wondering why I was acting the way I was. I judged everything that came out of my own mouth.
And as soon as everyone departed I was like yuk I don’t want to do this. Am I going to be horrible at this? Are they all going to wish they had chosen someone else to partner with on this? What are all these unexcited and freak-out feelings I’m having right now?
Oh it’s because I’ve never done this before. These are just first time feelings.
It only took about two hours of brooding in my own head to come to this conclusion. Which is better than two days. And better than panicking. And infinitely better than bailing.
What bubbles up when we have no idea what we’re doing isn’t because we don’t know what we’re doing — it’s because we simply just haven’t done it before. So no matter what your first is, from major personal moments (hi relationships and parenthood and big moves and big feelings) or major work moments (looking at you promotions, new jobs, bigger responsibilities, and leveling up), remember first time feelings are a reminder that you’re not only new at something, you’re expanding into somewhere new, too. And that’s the precise moment where life gains even more momentum for the better.