doing something out of your comfort zone

I get to go to Washington D.C. next month. I love D.C. and have never been there in the fall, so I’m looking forward to the trip, even though it’s short. I fly in Wednesday afternoon. Spend all day Thursday in a meeting. Then fly home Friday. (I may not complain if the flight is full and I somehow get bumped and get to stay another day.)

The meeting has me a little anxious. I’m not the lead (we are now in the plan C phase of the meeting, but plan B had be acting as the lead for a day, and I was A LOT anxious over that). But I’m still out of my comfort zone.

Don’t get me wrong–I am out of my comfort zone quite frequently at work. (Two years ago I found myself making small talk with and smoothing hair, miking, and applying powder to faces of some of the top experts in the country on federalism and constitutional law. Last month I found myself providing limited technical support and also trying to sell our services to a group of top scientists in the country from various hazmat, homeland security, and chemical companies from across the country and Canada.) But this month we are meeting with a group of engineers to help them come up with a plan to update their training for a system that is meant to standardize survey data and I’m in WAY over my head.

Although my brother, nephew, and son are in the field and I’ve worked with them twice before on other projects, apparently engineers intimidate me.

It is easy for me when I’m a). out of my comfort zone and b). not the lead, to settle in comfortably in the back seat and let my colleague drive the entire bus by himself. He is a natural and does a wonderful job. But I do have something to contribute–which is why my presence was requested–and it’s not really fair for me not to carry my weight. So I have been busy familiarizing myself with a new vocabulary (geodetic and geodesy) and with their current training in the hopes that somehow we can extract from them what needs to change and then figure out a way to apply it.

In one day.

And I’ve been losing sleep over it for a month already.

Twenty more days and it will all be over.

[Day 154 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]