A beautiful Saturday morning in Washington and I am getting ready to play my first holes of golf of the season. I will share that while I am an enthusiastic golfer, I am decidedly in the “not very good” category. I love golf but the stigma of being “not very good” has evolved into a real fear that keeps me from playing as often as I might and in fact, almost led to me cancelling my game today.

As I thought about this fear, it took me back to another conversation about fear that I had two years ago with a friend. I told him that although I have driven in several countries, driving in Seattle gave me real fear, so much so that I avoided going to Seattle if I had to drive. He suggested to me that the best way to get over fear was to do more of the thing that caused the fear. Those words made me pause and then the next day with gritted teeth, to embrace the fear of driving in Seattle by doing it again, and again, and again. Now, driving in Seattle no longer gives me fear.

As I remembered those experiences, I thought about the Accounting for Managers course, which I am currently teaching in the Skagit Valley College Bachelor of Applied Management program. So many of us have had unfortunate experiences in learning about and working with numbers and these experiences have led to real fear about numbers. I saw this fear on the faces of many Friday afternoon as we talked about income statements and compound annual growth rates. I had told my program members that we needed to embrace a “we can do it” mindset about numbers. I witnessed my program members rise to the challenge, tacking the income statement activities with effort and commitment.

As I get ready for my game this afternoon, I realized that if I ever want to get over my fear of golfing, I need to play again, and again, and again, until the fear of “being not very good” no longer matters. I have been taking baby steps in this direction but I need to make a giant leap and make a genuine and wholehearted commitment to a mindset of “I can do it”.

Thank you to my BAS-AM program members and to my wise friend for showing me the way. Can’t wait to see where else we travel by conquering the fears that hold us back. I’m curious : have you ever let the fear of being “not very good” hold you back?

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