Last week I had the ... to serve as an advisor for a group of high school students as they went through a week long ... program. The program was very ... (for me as well
Last week I had the opportunity to serve as an advisor for a group of high school students as they went through a week long Entrepreneurship program. The program was very educational (for me as well as the students) and the relationships I formed with the students and other advisors are very dear to me. What's funny is that I almost didn't go because the program was in Youngstown Ohio, and I live in Cincinnati. In order to get there, I had to drive 5 hours.
Okay, so some of you are thinking, what's the big deal about driving 5 hours? For me driving 5 hours by myself was a very BIG DEAL. I rarely do road trips alone, and when I do they are generally short trips, less than 2 hours. Add to that the fact that I had never been to Youngstown before so it would be a long unfamiliar drive. I was scared. What if I got lost? What if I fell asleep? What if I went crazy talking to myself for 300 miles?
As you can tell by the fact that I'm writing this, I made it to Youngstown and back safely. The trip taught me a few lessons about tackling fear.
1. Educate yourself. Prior to my trip, I studied the directions to get there. I wrote the instructions in big bold print on a 3 x 5 note card for quick reference while I was driving. The biggest thing the most people fear is the unknown. By educating yourself about the activity that you fear, you can take out a large chunk of unknown.
2. Plan for the expected. Falling asleep at the wheel was my biggest concern. In addition to getting a good night's sleep, I made 6 CDs of my favorite music and checked out 2 audio books from the library so that I would have some variety to keep me awake. Everything you do as some known degree of risk involved. With proper planning you can mitigate some of the most common risks.
3. Plan for the unexpected. Prior to leaving for my trip I made sure my road side assistance program was paid up and I had their card in my purse. I also took my cell phone with me and made sure I had the car charger for it. You can't possibly anticipate everything that could happen to you on your journey. But you can put safe guards in place that will allow you to respond quickly to the unexpected.
4. Check in with your friends. On my way to Youngstown, I stopped in Columbus to have lunch with a friend. This was a nice way to break the monotony of the ride. Your friends are there to support you. Take advantage of the comfort and reassurance they can provide.
5. Allow your friends to check in on you. While I was driving I turned on my cell phone. Both my mother and my husband called me to see how my ride was going. Creating the space for others to check in on you is a great reminder that you aren't alone on your scary journey. Don't let pride fool you into thinking you don't need support.
6. Enjoy the journey. During my ride I saw beautiful parts of my home state that I'd never seen. I received a little geography lesson learning how the different highways connect. I sang at the top of my lungs to my favorite tunes from the 80's. I actually had fun. While there were a couple of times when I wasn't sure what highway I was on or the street I needed wasn't on the map, that didn't negate the joy of the journey.
On my way back, I drove straight home with no stopping. It wasn't easy but making it to Youngstown a week earlier gave me all the confidence I needed. I'm not sure if I would now consider myself a road warrior, but I now have one less thing to fear.