Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Secret To Doing Anything


I've always dreaded talking on the phone. Ordering a pizza, making a hair appointment, answering my long-lost relative... everything about phone conversations is just so unsettling to me. I can't exactly pinpoint the reason, but maybe it's because you can't see the other person to read their emotions.

Imagine my horror when, after starting an internship at a newspaper last summer, I learned that I would have to conduct phone interviews almost daily. With my boss listening, sitting at a desk a few feet away. The anxiety! I didn't want to appear unprofessional or timid to my boss, so I tried really hard to think of a way to motivate myself to make the calls. That's when I remembered this quote from We're the Millers (which is an absolutely hilarious movie):

"Whenever you get scared about anything (...) you just count to three, and then do it. 'Cause if you take too long, you'll start to overthink it and you'll just drive yourself crazy. Trust me, it'll change your life."

Here is the quote from the movie (sorry about the subtitles):


The advice seemed so simple, but it worked. Whenever I had to make a call, I just grabbed the phone, counted to three, and dialed. Once the ringing began, there was no turning back. This was a huge step forward from my previous method of procrastinating my phone calls, which made me even more anxious and nervous in the end. As it turns out, I'm not nearly as bad at phone interviews as I thought. I even had local officials call back after my article was published to say how wonderful my interview with them had been.

Apply this "three second rule" to any aspect of your life, as a way to get over your fears. It helped me, and I'm sure it can help some of you. Lesson learned: if you want something,  just do it!