Dealing With Your "New"-ness in Any Situation

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Posted by: YPN South Bend on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

Young professionals are getting themselves into "new" things all the time. While not necessarily a "problem," a new job, house, city, spouse, child or boss often brings new kinds of obstacles and stressors. This article suggests some concepts to remember and books to read that might help you make the most of your own new. 

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome "is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts [his or her] accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud!" Probably already a buzz word for you, imposter syndrome may follow a recent promotion or the first months at your first job.

Give yourself a few weeks or months to settle in. Those impostor feelings take hold in the absence of confidence-instilling experience of both successes and failures. Relish your successes and revel in your failures. Enough of each will keep the imposter syndrome at bay (or-better yet-at sea).

Remembering that nearly everyone can feel like an impostor and that the feeling is often a sign of a new and better environment, you can subdue that fear and worry. (Besides, impostor syndrome may be good for you-tagline: "If work is comfortable, you probably aren't challenging yourself.")

Routines & Goals

Be deliberate about your routines and goals. A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, and a goal is the object of your ambition or effort. Routines will develop whether intended or not but being deliberate and building routines marches you toward your goals. Having both routines and goals for your "new thing" will also help you grow and cope with its challenges.

Establishing routines will make South bend or your new job familiar. Familiar things are comfortable for humans, and there are fewer distractions with familiarity. Making a point to establish good habits and patterns in your new job will let you be efficient and effective from the beginning.

Establishing some routine in your new city (e.g. attending YPN events, joining a weekly running club, joining a local gym, finding a favorite coffee shop) will give you a sense of ownership, allow you to shrink down your world to a manageable size, and enable more opportunities to have fun and find peace. 

Identifying and working toward goals for your "new thing" keeps your mind busy, presents additional opportunities and just feels good.

Neuroplasticity & Growth Opportunity

Your “new thing” is probably something you chose. If you did choose it, remember you likely did so hoping to grow as a result. Even if it wasn’t your choice, understanding and remembering that your brain is plastic will help you make the most of newness (no, not real plastic, we are talking about neuroplasticity). Our brains are continuously making new neural connections. With every sensation, image, feeling and thought, the physical architecture of our brains changes. And the new connections that form can be strengthened via repeated neural firing. Be deliberate about which neurons are firing together—what patterns (sensations, images, feelings, thoughts) do you want hardwired into your brain?

The way you choose to handle new situations, regardless whether the new situation itself was chosen, is reflected in the connections of your neurons in your brain. And those connections can later enable or inhibit your later performance. How do you respond to stimuli outside of your circle of influence? How do you respond to urgent disruptions in your planned activities? How do you greet and treat strangers? How much Netflix do you watch…?

Reigning this section back in a little: your “new thing” is your new best opportunity to grow. You don’t have as much potential to grow in old, familiar, comfortable things. Your first house, new job, first child—these are opportunities to grow like you’re a single-digit level Charmander in Pokémon Red Edition on your Game Boy Color.

Further Reading

These are several amazing books you should read before December 31.

  • The Confidence Gap, Russ Harris (great for overcoming imposter syndrome and healthily interacting with your thoughts and feelings)

  • The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor (introduction to positive psychology and why happiness begets success, not the other way around)

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (this classic is tops for some key principles to live by and habits to form for healthy professional and personal relationships)

  • The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman (provides a supremely helpful vocabulary and conceptual framework to talk and think about love)

  • Mindset, Carol Dweck (explains the "fixed mindset" and "growth mindset," how people with a growth mindset succeed when challenged, and how to develop a growth mindset)

  • How Not to Die, Michael Greger, MD, FACLM (100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease)

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