Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Into the Woods

from Weschler, Lawrence. (5 Nov 2018). "His Three Loves." The New York Times.

I am doing something that is really hard for me to do. I am pushing myself into my discomfort zone and I am not experiencing much success, yet.

Being a novice is not easy. It is especially hard when you compare yourself to experts in the room.

A friend asked how the project was going and  "I don't like it" was my quick reply.

Hearing myself, I reframed my quick reply into a more forward-thinking frame. Saying things like, "I love to learn", and "I enjoy the group I am learning with..." Both true statements.

At the third practice, I felt anxiety creep up my spine and settle in my neck.

Did I say "I don't like it" in order to cover up for something I should have done or prepared or practiced in order to be ready to do the thing? Is it a lack of skill prompting this attitude or is it performance anxiety?

I am curious. I enjoy learning. I take risks. Singing and performing in the faculty musical is meant to be fun team building for faculty. I mean, I know I'm playing Cinderella's Stepmother in Sondheim's Into the Woods, but really. What's up with my initial feelings?

Bill Ferriter recently blogged about negative people in organizations. His writing about negative people spoke to my own negative feelings about my recent performance.  Ferriter writes that seeing negativity in people in organizations really points back to the work you yourself need to do. He writes,  "You have knowledge building or skill building or relationship building to do."

I know I get irritated with myself when I am underprepared for something. Nothing good comes out of a vacuum. Polished performances take practice, skill, and knowledge

Ferriter cites Anthony Muhammad who argues that reasonable, rational people resist change for four reasons:

  1. They don’t understand the work that you are asking them to do. 
  2. They don’t understand why the work that you are asking them to do matters. 
  3. They don’t know how to do the work that you are asking them to do. 
  4. They don’t trust you.
Am I resisting the changes this new learning demands? I wondered. 

I realized that I have forgotten how to read music. There are gaps in what makes sense to me on the page. My violin and piano playing days ended when I was in high school. I lost some of those skills. I don't always know how to do the singing work my part demands because I don't always know how to read the music--especially when three people are to begin singing at once. That is something solid I can land on and work to learn how to do. I bet with practice, I'll develop more confidence. I bet by March, I will love the singing and the practicing. I also bet that the love will grow over time with the work I put in.


  1. You are such a learner! Looking forward to going deeper INTO THE WOODS with you! :-)