Today I had a mini meltdown at my banjo lesson. I was struggling so much with “Shady Grove” that I actually started crying because I couldn’t get the pull-off right in the second bar. ARGH. No matter what I kept doing, it wasn’t happening right – the tone was off, the tempo was too slow, it messed up the next notes, you name it. The worst part was that each time I was raising my anxiety level and getting further and further away from ever being successful.
Then Paul said we should just move to another bar and I wouldn’t. I was determined to get this damn thing down. Which only made it even less likely to be successful. That stubborn repeat the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result was not a side of me that Paul had seen before. He was surprised that I could so easily get wound up and trapped in this head banging ritual. HAHAHAHA, if he only knew how familiar that is for me.
After finally switching to another bar, I realized exactly what my problem was. I couldn’t solve the problem and I didn’t know another way to do it, since playing music is not really a strength I have. This why I kept repeating the same technique over and over again, with the same result, because I didn’t trust myself that there must be another way to do it, I just needed to take a risk and try something different. Hello, Introspection… where have you been?
So, today’s lesson was that even with something as small as a banjo technique, if I don’t know the subject well, I don’t let myself take the risk to try another way – I get trapped in the idea that I don’t know! Well, shit and shinola, now that I know that, I will be doing some conscious work on taking the risks and trusting myself. It ties into the anxiety that I usually have about whether or not my level of work is high quality enough – do I really know everything about the subject, etc? I think the latest catch phrase for it is imposter syndrome. Whatever it is called, I know I’ve got a case of it.
It’s like when I have to present somewhere. I am always worried that I do not know enough, that there must be some detail that I have overlooked. Have I prepared enough? Which secret sources of information have I forgotten to absorb? Will I be articulate enough, in either language? Those kinds of things. To the point that I usually make myself slightly nauseous and have a couple of dry heaves to get it out of my system on the way there.
Inevitably, I do well with my presentations. The content is usually too much, way more than they wanted and no one fell asleep or walked out. If anything, they have over estimated their knowledge and I have underestimated mine. Silly really. We’re all simply people and exchanging ideas and knowledge. Last week I left a presentation with an enormous bouquet of flowers as a thank you. I am wondering at what point will I stop having the dry heaves and worrying that I don’t know enough? Will I ever get there?
I have an idea from where it comes from. When I was growing up, my parents would always ask if I had really done my best? On my report cards, there would usually be a comment or two that I wasn’t quite living up to my potential. If I came home with a certain grade, the question was always a form of what could you have done to make it higher? I know that comes from having parents who placed a high value on the importance of education. That part I value because I like being a nerd. Where it left some dents is that I always wonder if I really did my best? I’m also really tough on myself in terms of what I think is my best. I think my best is something that I have never yet reached. Inspiring on one hand, frustrating on another.
This afternoon, I had booth bunny duty at a developer conference. It was fine because no one was comfortable approaching me directly, they all made their way to my male colleague. Then they would be rerouted because he’s in marketing and technical questions are not his thing 😉 I have to be back there tomorrow…
I picked Astrid up today, she had her service for the winter and got detailed. Such a beautiful car… Robert asked me again if I wanted to sell. Nope, not going to do it. Of course, since she had her service, the radio won’t work without the code. It took 116 minutes to get from Haarlem back to the garage here due to rain and traffic, with no radio sadly. It is about 10 miles from door to door. Uh huh… Astrid says she wants a helicopter add-on kit. Sort of a more aerodynamic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang look.
Thanks for reading 🙂