Anxiety and the Comfort Zone

Can I make a confession? I’m having a little anxiety about making a trip to a shotgun class. It’s going to be a bit outside my comfort zone.

I’m signed up for a Defensive Shotgun course with Rangemaster.

Though I’ve had lots of experience with my semiauto shotguns in 3-Gun and sporting clays, a pump gun for defensive use is a whole other animal. I’ve not spent much time with the pump gun that I rebuilt, and I’m worried that I might not have enough of my grip strength and upper body strength back after a bout with inflammatory arthritis this year. It’s improving on medication, and I’m getting function back, but … limitations are something I worry about. That experience has taken away some of my self-confidence.

The last thing I want to do is make an idiot of myself in class. I don’t want to look like some granny who is out of her depth. As a woman in the shooting sports, being judged to be “good enough” has always been in the front of my mind, and I always felt I needed to prove that I could keep up.

BUT – I’m putting these feelings out here on purpose. Lots of us go through this, but not so many are willing to admit it. I want to make it normal and okay to acknowledge the anxiety, but to then push through and come out the other side with more confidence and knowledge than one had to begin with.

On reflection, a little anxiety and discomfort isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. It can mean that one will be teachable – willing to learn more in order to lessen the discomfort. That’s the whole purpose of taking a class, isn’t it – to put oneself purposely into discomfort in order to “become” comfortable? That’s what learning is about, right? 

A wise friend also pointed out that if I am worried about my potential limitations, then a class with experts would likely be the BEST place to find any work-arounds that I might need. Therefore I should be EXCITED about the class, and not worried. That was the exact thing I needed to hear. No wonder she’s a talented instructor!

I have never pretended to be an expert – only a learner. And that’s what I’m doing – learning.

So there is my confession. I feel better already with that off my chest. An After Action Report will be forthcoming. Wish me luck and learning!

Dr LateBloomer is a female general pediatrician who bought her first firearm at the age of 46. She now enjoys many different shooting disciplines including self-defense, IDPA, Steel/Rimfire Challenge, Sporting clays, and even tried 3-Gun for several years. She has gotten started in hunting and has expanded into crossbow. She is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and works to enlighten her medical colleagues whenever possible.