I was raised to respect what is “appropriate,” and I have lived the majority of my comporting my behavior to what was expected of me. I have always understood there are certain things a person simply does not do because doing them would be, well, inappropriate. The thought of intentionally doing something inappropriate immediately sparks a bubbling of fear in my stomach. As I continue down this path of trying to find a life more fulfilling, I have quickly learned that actions resulting in a wrenching sense of fear in my stomach is a great sign I am on the right path.
In my search for a higher and better use of my skills I have examined my affinity for the FranklinCovey corporation. I first read Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in 1999 and became a devotee of the skills it teaches around time management, maximizing potential, and commitment to self-improvement. I have wondered for a while now what it takes to be a facilitator of their classes, what their classes look like, and how one goes about breaking into that world.
Eager as I am to explore that potential option further, I am not currently in a position to spend $200 for a class. Otherwise an obvious step would be to register, attend, and inquire bluntly about what it takes to become a facilitator. Then a friend encouraged (read: challenged) me to simply call and ask if I can attend for free, have some time with an instructor, and research the possibility of taking that interest a few steps forward.
But you do not just call someone and ask for something like that, right? That would be inappropriate.
Not according to my girlfriend who sees the world very differently than I do. Besides, would it be that big of a risk in the grand scheme of things? No. One could argue my venturing off to find a more fulfilling life with no real plan was more of an inappropriate action than this. The worst that could happen would be them telling me, “No.” Still, it felt scary particularly because of the fear of rejection and what that would mean in terms of being an impediment to me researching if this is something I want to do next.
I called the Franklin Covey office and explained what I was doing. I did not go well at first. I was met with the silence, confusion, and apprehension I expected. But I persisted and after talking with one or two people they agreed to let me attend a class for free. The class was far from sold out and was not one of their more popular and expensive core classes. This was a specialty class to improve one’s fluency with financial terms and process based on the book, What the CEO Wants You to Know. However, it allowed me a chance to observe a class, observe the instructor, and engage directly with him and about his career, and develop a contact as I continue exploring whether or not this is something I want to do.
The experience confirmed this is something I want to explore further. The idea of being in front of the group and conveying useful information appeals to me. There is a sense of intentionality about it that I find intriguing. Further, as someone who has benefited greatly from the training and lessons of the FranklinCovey system, I have a genuine appreciation for what they promote.
The larger takeaway is about taking action contrary to a learned behavior that may not suit us as we look to find a sense of fulfillment in life. How many times do we take bold or inappropriate action to get what we want when it comes to finding a sense of purpose or fulfillment? Conversely, how often do we back down in moments where we could risk being inappropriate but opt to remain safe, only to find ourselves wishing we had made a different choice? The latter significantly impacts that inner spirit yearning to feel more alive.
If, like me, you are searching for ways to find an increased sense of fulfillment, try identifying small risks you can take. Obviously do not put yourself or others at risk. Actions like that are never worth it. However, it might be something as simple as making a phone call to ask for something you want even though you may be rejected. Or perhaps you want to increase your sense of independence, in which case you could go out to eat, or go to a movie by yourself. Make that phone call. Go grab a bite. Go buy that movie ticket.
Whatever it is that “people just do not do,” (and again, so long as you are not hurting yourself or others), go do it.
Sometimes a little inappropriateness is good for the soul.