What turned it around:
1. On Saturday night a friend talked to me extensively about my job situation. During a half hour conversation, we were able to identify that ever since I started working at Carson’s, I have always seen the hostess job as the hardest job in the restaurant, maybe because at Carson’s only the managers acted as hosts seating people. I always thought seating people was something I’d probably get wrong and should leave to the people in charge.
2. Realizing I had constructed my own blockade to success as a hostess, I desperately tried to figure out how to unblock it. How could I destroy the FEAR of failure that I’d believed in for so long? I tried meditating, journalling, visualizing, writing exercises. Still I felt scared of Monday.
3. On Sunday night another friend happened to talk to me about his social anxiety disorder. He gets very nervous and scared when he meets new people, but he still goes to parties because he has to try. He said living in fear and avoiding parties would make him feel much worse than the anxiety he feels when he goes to them. By pushing and challenging himself, he lives with less fear than if he gave into his anxiety and never left home.
At work this morning I still felt scared, especially as the rush hour of 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. got closer. What would it take to break the lock of fear I had created for myself? Knowing it was all in my head wasn’t enough. Knowing I had created this situation myself wasn’t enough. Knowing I could lose my job if I couldn’t pull it together was DEFINITELy not enough. Using the carrot-and-stick motivation anology, I know the stick does not work for me. It only makes me more scared.
4. Finally, it hit me: like my friend with the parties, once I have made it through this situation in spite of my fear, my life will have that much less fear in it. Once I've broken the surface of the water and freed myself of the paralyzing fear of this job, my life will be that much freer and more comfortable.
That was it: moving through the fear in order to have a life with less fear. That sounded like a GOOD DEAL to me. I wanted that, yes that was a carrot that would work!
Immediately I felt better. Just considering how much better my life would be when I wasn't ruled by this fear, caused it to lift. My anticipation of the aftermath of today’s lunch rush, when I would celebrate my new freedom from this fear, solidified my confidence and I went into today’s lunch hour with the certainty that the problem was already solved.
And so it was. I took control of the room, smiled more because I felt like it, stayed on top of the crowd and I rode that wave like Greg Brady before the fall.
And yea, verily, my life is better.