What’s horrible on day one doesn’t have to be horrible on day three.
(Authored by Annie Pettit, Chief Research Officer at Peanut Labs and a speaker at the upcoming Corporate Researchers Conference)
I recently took a trip to Iceland, a stunning country with volcanos, lava fields, caves, glaciers, hot springs, and boiling mud. It was a vastly new experience for me and among the many wonders that Mother Nature shared with me, one of the long-lasting experiences will be going to the man-made outdoor swimming pools.
Pools are a big deal in Iceland. The temperatures there never really go above about 15 degrees Celsius and sometimes the night lasts 24 hours a day. But, the geothermal activity all over the country means that hot water is aplenty. And that hot water translates into possibly more lovingly warm public pools per capita than any other country in the world.
There is a process to using these pools, a process with which I was completely unfamiliar and dreaded even though I was keen to try. It involves a lot, and I mean a LOT, of nakedness. The first time I used the pool, I went through the ritual of removing every article of clothing, thoroughly washing every square millimeter of me with soap in front of a bunch of perky and saggy strangers, and then weaseling like a contortionist into my swim suit. The entire time, embarrassed and self-conscious, I repeated to myself, “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.” In the end, I did it. And I didn’t die.
The next day, I decided to go to the pool again. I don’t know, crazy I guess. But this time, it was much easier. I didn’t have to play the broken record in my head. I got neked, washed, put my suit on, and went for a swim. Day three, you get the picture. Neked? I don’t even recall. It wasn’t a big deal. Been there, done that. Actually, it was kind of refreshing not to be self-conscious and to just do my thing.
And now you ask, what does me being neked have to do with anything? Well, it’s not the constant misspelling of naked. The point is that even something that is horribly unthinkable and uncomfortable to do the first time can eventually turn into a normal, uneventful, and even good experience. What’s horrible on day one doesn’t have to be horrible on day three.
Think about the last survey you wrote. Perhaps you agonized over it because it was thirty minutes long and you couldn’t shorten it. Too much work, too difficult, it wouldn’t work. Well, here’s a thought. The next time you have your hands on a thirty minute survey, take the time. Do the impossible. Cut it into two or three surveys. Yes, it will be painful and you’ll encounter many negatives along the way. You’ll see problems that can’t be fixed and questions that don’t seem to fit anywhere. But you know what? It will be easier the second time and by the third time, you won’t even notice. In fact, you might just find that’s it’s a great relief to finally do what you know is right