Learning Curve

When I was 11 my uncle took me skiing.  I spent most of that trip wedged in a snowdrift, but I have very fond memories of it.  I would cautiously launch down the bunny hill, feel myself picking up speed and panic.  Many people were injured.  Finally, too tired or too numb to panic, I just stood still and let gravity carry me to the bottom of the hill.  And then I fell.  But it was a vast improvement.  I realized that my fear was making me fall, not my speed.  If I could just ride it out, I would make it to the base of the slope without causing a pile-up.

Since starting at R&B, I have had countless moments — almost an endless string — of panic (but you should know I’m prone to anxiety).  On many occasions, I have found myself precariously perched at the top of a steep hill, terrified to move.  As a new Design Associate, you want so much to be great at your job — you want to be an expert — but there’s a learning curve.  Until you have more experience under your belt, a challenging project can be very intimidating. 

I thought about my skiing-epiphany this weekend, when in the midst of a very busy Saturday, a customer approached me with a crammed folder and a strangely scaled builder’s plan.  My first instinct was to run.  I was terrified and overwhelmed simply by the idea of the project.  I didn’t feel capable — I could see myself careening towards a snowdrift.  But instead of panicking or looking for another DA to rescue me, I stayed still; I stayed present.  And amazingly, I didn’t crash into a tree.  Instead, I figured it out, had a fantastic interaction with my customer and learned a ton along the way.