Redefining Possible

Have you ever attempted a goal? A goal you knew you were trained for to a degree, but were still unsure of the outcome? What about a goal where you were not prepared, but at least marginally familiar with the territory? How did you feel when you reached the outcome? Excited? Proud? Relieved?

The start of my first ever race. Eco Run 5 miler 2007

Now, what about a goal where you had absolutely no idea what you were doing? Did you finish? How did you feel?

Last week at work I found myself in a peculiar situation. We were sent an Excel sheet and told it would make our lives easier. Of course the coding was not in the sheet as we expected, and so it was really a colored outline for what we were already doing by hand. The person who knew the codes was gone and so we were stuck. Messing around with it I used one of the 3 things I know about Excel.

1. Don’t spell Excel with 2 Ls
2. The symbol for Excel is a green X in a green outlined box
3. Functions of how to add or subtract

My boss saw me make the formula or whatever to make it subtract time ended from time started to get a total and decided I was the most capable of working on the Excel project. It was my duty to completely code the thing. How hard could it be? Well basically I needed to make it read time, convert the time to our time charts (not evenly distributed) drop the value in the right column, read tab from tab for a daily, weekly and monthly total. Oh, and if it could cure cancer, that would be spiffy too.

Computer people are laughing at me right now with thinking this is complicated. When you have NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING IT IS! ( ;

Essentially I spent all of Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday working on this project. Each time I made the littlest movement forward I found a rush of adrenaline. I was Googling terms I didn’t know, changing formulas and hoping for the best.

I am ECSTATIC to report, I finished the sheet today! I used “if” conditions. I created drop down menus. I used “vlookups” and I have tabs communicating to make a daily, weekly and monthly total. I have zeros coded to blend into the highlighted cell in order to look invisible. I didn’t cure cancer.

I received help on 2 things. 1- A small hiccup where I wasn’t converting the time to general using an additional column. 2 – If I don’t want people breaking my code I need to protect certain cells with a password.

I kept telling my boss, thinking I might cry and was a failure, the coding was too advanced for me. I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know where to end. I was lost and alone and nervous.

So instead of weeping over how I went to school for counseling. I went to school for sociology. I slept for 55% of my computer class in undergrad in 2003. Instead of having a pity party and giving up, I sat down, took a breath and started trying. Who could blame me for trying?

And I did something I never knew I could and no one will ever take that feeling away from me. When I introduce the sheet at tomorrow’s meeting, all eyes will be on me.

We may not use it. But at least I gave 110% at least I am not up at night wondering “COULD I have done it?”

What’s the image about comfort zone and possibilities? *uses Google* oh it’s comfort zone and where the magic happens.

My task for all of you is this…don’t limit what your zone and magic can mean. Don’t think comfort zone is jogging and magic is cross-fit. Don’t think comfort zone is McDonald’s and magic is the new Indian place down the street.

Never limit yourself to simply improving on what you already know. Take a risk. Do something you don’t know. Do something you don’t like, but won’t hurt you. Step so far out of your comfort zone, you’ll never see what’s coming.

Even if it isn’t a success story, it’ll still be YOUR story.

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