It's comfortable to sit back. Not necessarily easy, as it requires a certain compromise, but given only two options of doing something intimidating versus not doing something intimidating, the not doing is easier. This blog post by Seth Godin pointed that out to me really well. It struck me in two different ways, both the impersonal task, and the personal.
On the impersonal side, I just climbed Mt. Everest, and moved to rural Kansas. Talk about back to back "scary" things. Both things offer intimidation, risks, and the chance that I would "fail". How one defines failure varies. As a note, fear, and scared are not the same things, being scared might be defined as letting fear drive the decision to avoid a risk, where as fear might be described as the acknowledgement of risk. In other words, on Mt. Everest there were many things I was afraid of, but I never felt scared.
Today though I want to talk about the personal side. When a person is intimidating, and I'm not even talking dating, which is a whole other topic. In 2009 I met Gerlinde Kaltenbruner in Pakistan, I was starstruck, same when I initially met Melissa Arnot in 2014. Two people with reputations that far preceded them. It is the same in the engineering world. Some people have so much experience and knowledge, I (and admit it, we) feel stupid asking every question that comes to mind, which is ridiculous. Although, I will say that how a person responds to questions does impact our willingness to ask more questions. If a person is made to feel the question is stupid, he or she is less likely to ask questions in the future. That is a big part of the reason I am down here in Kansas. My new immediate coworkers know stuff I don't understand. Plus, they seem very willing to teach. I could have continued to fumble my way through understanding all of this, in other words, sit back, or I could dive into a situation that scares me. I took the plunge and it's only beginning.