Cold Feet

Months ago when the #RoadToCACUSS team were brainstorming topics of what to write about in our blog posts for this campaign, I was still having doubts about the whole idea of this road trip, but was trying to keep it to myself. I had already committed to it and felt as though it was too late to back out. This sense of doubt must be very similar to what people experience when they get “cold feet” leading up to a wedding. So as a newlywed, this term resonated with me—but the feeling did not.

The confidence I had in the decision I made to marry my best friend never wavered throughout the entire planning process, and I don’t foresee that ever changing. This trip, on the other hand, was a completely different story.

Cold Feet: apprehension or doubt strong enough to prevent a planned course of action. To get cold feet: to get nervous and change your mind

So what was it that I was getting cold feet about?

I’ve travelled the world on my own and know that I can adapt to be compatible with pretty much any type of person. I’ve experienced long bus rides while playing junior hockey in Sudbury, so it wasn’t the time or distance that were the problem. Or was it? I was a different person back then when I was flying solo or living the dream as a hockey player. My life and priorities have since changed. A big part of my anxiety was coming from leaving my new wife and partner in crime behind. We do everything together. So being gone for two weeks was going to be tough.

It was also going to be tough to not only bring my whole self to work, but also to social media for the world to see. This trip is definitely outside of my job description and my comfort zone, so I could have easily said no. But there was something inside of me that just had to say yes, even though I wasn’t quite ready to make the decision. Thankfully Ryerson Student Affairs has created a culture that encourages us to always bring our whole selves to work. I also get to work alongside a thought leader like Hamza Khan who encourages making these leaps and saying yes, even if you don’t think you’re entirely ready.

So why did I say yes?

To bring my whole and authentic self to work. But ultimately to step outside of my comfort zone. I thought of Jen Gonzales’ recent blog post about facing fear, and how “the journey is the reward.” The journey she embarked on in her new role as Director of Student Life started with some of the toughest times of her life, yet, it has been one of the most rewarding chapters of her story. I was presented with this amazing opportunity to travel from Toronto to Vancouver with five co-workers, teammates, and friends, and knew I had to make the most of it.

On the surface it may not appear as a challenge, but having to spend every waking hour with a work friend is a huge difference than a best friend. My work friends don’t know all my little quirks. Is there something that will make them think of me differently? Will I second guess myself or overthink everything (which I tend to do all the time anyway)? Will they judge me for how often I message or call my wife to check in and give updates? (Even my close friends do.) These work friends have such different personalities, qualities, and characteristics than those I generally hang out with in my social circle, which results in a nervous excitement for me. I’m nervous about how people will react in the moments where our differing opinions and outlooks will inevitably clash. But at the same time it excites me to be able to put myself “in their shoes.”

This trip has the potential to be transformational for me both as a professional and as a person. As a young professional, I know I still have so much to learn and what better way to do it than to surround myself with such a diverse and intelligent group of people in an RV for a week. I can’t wait to see what we learn from each other on this journey, and I have a feeling that one of the biggest rewards will be making the shift from work friends to close friends.

comfort-zone

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