We’ve all heard the term “use it or lose it.”
Sometimes it’s in context to the need to keep moving and exercising.
I remember when I asked my trainer, “Why do I need to do deadlifts? Nobody sees the back of my legs.” He said, “Have you ever seen old men in showers with saggy butts? It is because they don’t have strong hamstrings. That’s what deadlifts do for you.”
Then and there, I decided to stop complaining about doing them and asked him how many he wanted me to do!
The same is true in our communication skills, storytelling skills, and networking skills.
I was invited to a socially-distanced networking party for 20 people which was outside at a private home in Austin where I recently moved.
Moving to a new city requires a lot of new skills, including how to deal with not knowing everybody at a cocktail party.
Not only had I not gone to a cocktail party in over 8 months, I had not exercised my muscle of going up to people and introducing myself in 8 months!
Most everyone there already knew each other. Luckily for me, Austin’s very friendly.
In fact, walking from my car to the party, I saw a beautiful modern house and admired the architecture so much I took out my phone and took a picture of it. Stephanie, the owner of the home came out and said, “Oh, I see you took a picture. Are you interested to know who the architect is?” We talked for five minutes, and she was so friendly.
The same thing was true with 20 people at this outdoor patio party. About 15 minutes after arriving, I had a thought “What if I left? Would anyone notice? Or can I push past my anxiety and stay?”
I told myself, “Just stay five more minutes and see how you feel.” Soon after that, I was in another conversation and another conversation and my anxiety went away. In fact, I was not the first person to leave the party at all.
The lesson here is that we need to keep exercising all our muscles. When we realize we might be a little rusty from not using them all during a pandemic, it can be like riding a bike. We do have muscle memory and can get back on and eventually get going in a groove again.
Also, try to resist the urge to flee something when you feel out of your comfort zone. Tell yourself a story that you just have to get through the next five minutes, not the next hour and a half, and see if that helps you conquer your next fear.