[Sarah sent this fantastic photo to accompany the comment she made to last week’s post (the knitting one) (thanks Sarah), but we couldn’t work out how to add it there, so thought the whole story could go up as a post of its own this week. The theme continues from there too, the challenge of reaching out to unknown people… Now, over to her…]
I had an experience of this myself in the weekend. A friend let me know about a nature tour run by the Conservation Society in Morialta Park. Assuming she was going to sign up, I signed up. It turned out she was busy and couldn’t go and I’d be hiking with a group of strangers on my own. At first I thought about calling and withdrawing from the tour and it took quite a bit of self talk and self encouragement to get in the car and go. Even as I was driving I was thinking of excuses to get out of the walk. I was thinking I’d just do my own or walk or maybe even go shopping since the city was on the way. I was surprised by my own struggle to get involved in something I knew I would love just because I had no one to go with.
Stepping into a group of people you don’t know and doing something you’ve never done before is very scary. No wonder people avoid it. I went to the sign up table and awkwardly gave my name. The man smiled and asked how I found out about the walk and then pointed me to a tree with a koala perched in the low branches. I had walked right past it a moment before. For 10 minutes I stood under the tree taking photos of the sleeping koala, then we started the hike. I was blown away by the knowledge of the guide and the world of plants and animals in the park. I met people from all around the world who were interested in learning more about Australian wildlife and we all had a wonderful morning.
I really wish it didn’t have to be so hard to take that first step into something new because the benefits are so tangible and often eye-opening and enjoyable. We learn so much when we step outside of our comfort zone.
As for how we can help others who may be shy, socially isolated or resistant to change and newness take that step, having someone they know and trust to go with I think makes a big difference. Having as much information about what it will be like, what will happen and who might be there could be helpful as well. Another good way to take that first step is knowing that’s all you have to do. If you get there and then decide you want to leave because it’s not for you, that’s okay and I think that needs to be publicised more. Having the experience of taking that step and then getting something great from it makes it easier to do it again and again. I know I’ll won’t be hesitating to go on the next Conservation Society walk that comes up!