Okay, just so you know.

This is definitely one of those things that makes sense in my head, and possibly nowhere else.

But it’s about play and destuckifying and the experimental approach, and so many other things we talk about here. Extrapolate and adjust, as necessary.

The background.

I am phobic and weird about oh so many things, really you don’t want to know and I don’t want to make a list so let’s just drop this making certain types of phone calls.

It’s a fear. But it’s not an irrational fear because I don’t believe in irrational fears.

Anyway, it sometimes makes it hard to be me.

And even though I know a lot about sneaking around fear in general and this fear in particular, sometimes it still hits me, and I can go into serious avoidance mode for way longer than is comfortable.

The idea.

Last week I was using the Deguiltified Chicken Board (part of my Kitchen Table program) to brainstorm some creative ways to actually make the damn call, since it really needed to be made.

Here’s what I came up with:

The plan! I will pretend that I am a spy and that the interaction is happening in code.

I will write down the code sentences to be used.

Then I will hide in the closet and make the call in a sly, secretive manner. Oho!

To be clear, I did not actually think this was going to work.

Generally, nothing works, other than using every techniques I can think of and processing the process and talking to the monsters until the situation destuckifies itself.

Which is time-consuming. Awesome, but time-consuming.

The result.

Super spy method turned out to be way more effective than anticipated. Also more effective than it should be.

I had my code phrases ready (writing them was fun), and something about Being Prepared made it easier.

And in a matter of minutes I had two appointments made and on the calendar.

Compared with weeks of avoidance, this is really, really good.

Sample secret agent phrases.

Spy moves! I have spy moves!

And a dictionary.

What I say:

Hi, I was hoping to get a trim, this weekend if possible.

What it secretly means:

Pssssst! I am the one you should be talking to. Let’s exchange the papers. I will come in, pretending to get a hair cut, and then something outrageous will happen. Let us make haste! The future of the world depends on it!

What I say:

Good morning. {breathe} This is Havi Brooks and I’d like to set up an appointment with Dr. X. And I have two questions about that. {breathe}.

What it secretly means:

Fiends! They tried to follow me, but I outsmarted them. Please direct me to the nearest safe house.

And now I have Spy Cards. Yay.

They aren’t really cards. Yet.

But that is the name of a new document in the black binder that is the Book of Me. It’s there to remind me that this sneakified goofball approach is weirdly helpful, and that I should stick with it for now.

And it tells me what my Useful Phrases are. It tells me that being a spy helps me stay in my force field and use my ninja moves. Fwaaaaaaaaah! Dance of Shiva!

Calls are so much easier when I use my Spy Cards. And hide in the closet.

I still don’t like making calls. I still resent the fact that I don’t have a personal assistant to do everything for me.

And who knows, maybe one day I’ll go on phone sabbatical the way I’m on permanent email sabbatical. Ahhhhhhh.

But right now is right now. And right now these calls are happening. And this is a pretty big thing.

Play! And the comment zen blanket fort.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process.

Related to that is the fact that people vary. And our stuff varies.

The important thing is not one technique versus another, but the approach. That is, playfulness, curiosity, scientific exploration, observation and the willingness to be wrong about what we think we know.

If you would like to play, I would love that.

You can come up with secret agent phrases of your own, whether for phone calls or conversations or any situation you like.

Or invent your own experiments for making a hard thing possibly more doable.

Also, is always reassuring to be actively reminded that I am really truly not even close to being the only person in the world who is intimidated by picking up the phone.

Closet-hiding awkward phone-avoiders unite! And sparklepoints for everyone!

The Fluent Self