New Skill Anxiety


chickenI'm rather taken with creating films. Obviously I've only just begun my online course with Xanthe Berkeley but it is something I've longed to be able to do for some time. It's also something I've been putting off for some time. Because I'd told myself I wouldn't be able to do it. But remember my post about Being Brave? Well, this is me putting my words in action. New technology often overwhelms me. But, once I have finally decided to do something, instead of taking the easy option I push myself and I have to stop everything and do it RIGHT NOW. Otherwise it'll be niggling at me. Taunting me.

On Tuesday when the first filming lesson pinged into my email box I became increasingly anxious. Don't get me wrong, Xanthe's instructions and video clips where she demonstrates how to do things were amazingly clear. It was me. I kept thinking, what if I can't manage this? What if I don't understand or something goes wrong?

The answer was just to get on and do it. Make my first film. Show myself I can undertake something new. And it worked. I feel so much calmer. So much so, I've created a second film. Just to show myself it wasn't a fluke the first time around.

helen redfernIt's funny how we can have confidence in many things but when it comes to something new and out of our comfort zone we are floored. It's just occurred to me that I was the same with the chickens. It'll be four years ago in August when I held a (live!) chicken for the first time (and yes, that photograph on the left shows the very moment). And my goodness I was so overwhelmed. How to look after them, yes. But also specifics: what house to get, what to feed them, when to feed them. What happens if they're sick?

So I scoured the internet looking for answers. And found a chicken-keeping course. (The answer, it seems, is always on a course). I took so many notes when I went on this course. The chicken farmer said he'd never known anyone take so many notes before. (Sara, my coach, who is helping me with social media and photography said something similar in our last session. I appear to be a note taker-er.)

Now, four years later, my flock has grown, as has my confidence. I've done a talk on chickens for nursery school children (I could have talked for hours, they loved it, as did I) and I've written about how they've given my life balance and given me a sense of calm. And I'd almost forgotten how anxious and nervous I was when I was first contemplating becoming a chicken-keeper.

It seems apt, therefore, that my second film, the first project in nearly four years that's given me similar anxiety, is solely focused on the chickens.

The Chicken Routine from Helen || a bookish baker on Vimeo.

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