Coming back from the gym this morning we stopped off at a local store to pick up some breakfast bits. Sue went in whilst I looked after the bikes.
While I was waiting, I spied an elderly gentleman milling around the fruit shop, who I thought looked vaguely familiar. I started to wonder of this man could be Mr Queenan, my old history teacher, who I have fond memories of.
As he started to shuffle off in the opposite direction to me, I deliberated about asking him if he had been a teacher, but I didn’t. I also didn’t take the opportunity when he changed direction and slowly ambled past me, just as Sue came out of the shop.
So what stopped me from carrying out the simple act of asking someone whether he might have been someone I once knew? – Fear.
I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone, just in case he wasn’t who I thought he was, even though it could have led to a conversation either way, which could have brightened both of our days.
We are confronted with opportunities all the time; some we have to prepare for, some we should go for, even if we don’t think we’re quite ready and some, where no preparation is needed at all.
My life would have been no poorer if I’d asked that man and received a grumpy and stern “no” – because at least I would have taken myself out of my comfort zone and faced my fear head on.
There may not be a ‘next time’ for meeting this man, but there will be other opportunities that come my way – and when they do, I’m determined not to let my fear get the better of me.