I tell this story during my keynote about how my greatest anxiety is shaking hands. Most people do not realize I am missing my right hand and so it is inevitable they will stick out their right hand to shake. I have this choice: I could put out my right hand to shake but I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable, so I extend my left hand instead, which makes us both feel uncomfortable. You have this split second thought, “why did he just stick out his left hand – oh my God, I feel like a nincompoop.” And I have the split second thought, “oh no, I just made them feel like a nincompoop.”.So we spend 2.7 seconds together, feeling like nincompoops.
I like to joke about this and use fun words like nincompoop but if I am honest it is really about fear. My fear. My fear of holding out my right hand and hearing you gasp or seeing the look of surprise in your eyes. That fear is very real but I have learned that there are possibilities beyond it. I extend my left hand to you because that is the way that I move past that fear. It is not a perfect solution but it is a way I navigate a world that was not particularly made for someone like me.
Challenges are always going to be part of our lives. Changes are always going to be a part of our lives. Within these changes and challenges e will face fear but we have to find ways adapt and move forward, finding the possibilities beyond the fear. We have to find our best way of moving forward; it needs to be how we navigate this world that doesn’t always feel like it is made for us.
Are fears keeping you from moving forward in your life? Sometimes, we think we have to find the perfect solution before we can move forward. But life is not perfect. It is messy, complicated and full of compromises. Can we take that moment to look for the possibilities that can move us forward? Can we find our own way of “extending our left hand” in moments of uncertainty? When we do, we move closer to finding our full potential and creating opportunities that we never knew were possible.