Often times when we start something new, whether it is a project, job, or meeting new people, it comes with feelings of anxiety, fear, and doubt. On November 20, 2017 those feelings of anxiety, fear and doubt set in when I received the email saying “Congratulations! You have been selected to be a part of the 2018 ACTE Fellowship Cohort.” My initial thought was “They had to have to had made a mistake I am just a career development counselor in small town North Dakota.” I am my own worst critic.
I put the fellowship into the back of my mind until after Christmas when we had our first online meeting using Zoom. Then the anxiety, fear, and doubt came out in full force. I didn’t know what to expect; I felt like a new student on the first day of middle school. The more we talked and the more I listened, the more excited I got about this new adventure I had been chosen for. When they said I would be assigned a mentor, my anxiety sky-rocketed. Meeting new people has always been uncomfortable and awkward for me. According to my Meyers Briggs type, I am an introvert, contrary to what my friends and coworkers would say about me.
Being an introvert and having to talk to someone that I have never met over the phone, was nerve wracking to say the least. Being in different time zones and working in the crazy world of education where time seems illusive, my mentor Kim and I managed to schedule a time to talk while she was getting her oil changed and I was in the middle of getting supper ready. I had my list of questions ready when the phone rang and I instantly flashed back to being that new middle school student again! Once we started talking, I wanted to learn more and more, and the time we talked flew by. At the end of our conversation, I was excited to be able to learn from her and have her as my mentor and in my network of colleagues. Those feelings of being a new middle school student had diminished.
In the words of Brian Tracy “You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Being a part of the fellowship will force me to be immersed in all sorts of new situations, such as traveling by myself, meeting new people and presenting at a national conference to name a few. As a counselor I help students rewrite and reframe their negative stories to positive ones. As I move forward in this new adventure of being a fellow I am confident that my positive experience with my mentor Kim will alter my outlook on new situations and those feelings of being a new middle school student will disappear.