Yes to doing, no to doubting!

“Just do it.” A total stranger tells me this when I say that I’d love to get on stage and sing in a jam session but that I’m nervous to fall flat on my face. I’m at an open mic night in the Cul-de-Sac. That’s a bar in the heart of Tilburg. I’ve just moved here from Brussels.

Just do it. It’s easy for the stranger to say but I get on stage anyway.

“Do you guys know any Nirvana songs? Or, uh, Guns N’ Roses?”
They don’t.
“Uh, what about The Doors?”
“Let’s just see what comes out.”

Just do it.

We settled on blues in E and I told the drummer to count it off. I sang something that loosely resembled the Doors’ Roadhouse Blues, with a group of people I didn’t know, in front of a group of people I didn’t know. It was the first time I’d sung live without playing guitar at the same time. Not only that, but a little while later, I took the stage again and rapped. Just do it.

My first two weeks at Hackastory have been marked by doing things for the first time and by conquering fear. That’s how it was from day one, when I had to conduct my first interview. Day two was my first time in Rotterdam, where our lead designer has an office. It was also the first time I got so inspired by a news article that it got me thinking about developing a possible app or digital tool.

The next day I put my telephonic reticence of yore behind me for good when Albertine – my supervisor and leading Hackanaut – told me I had to sort out some internet problems. My coworkers saw I was hesitant to call, and they told me what I needed to hear: just do it.


Subtly conveying a theme? Just do it.

The fear of failure

I’m discovering new things about myself as I go along, such as the fact that I’m a perfectionist. I’m working on an assignment that involves interviewing a few of my colleagues, and my coworker Lieke told me that, through Hackastory, she managed to cope with her fear of failure. That’s something I resonated with a lot, and I have no doubt that my perfectionism stems from my own fear of failure. On Friday, I had another first – the first time during my internship that I didn’t rise to the occasion. It was the first piece I’d written about a colleague, and I’d drily transcribed and translated it… so I had to start again. Did I sulk because I’d under-delivered? No. I rewrote it. Do you see a pattern here? Just do it.

My second week was equally full of firsts. It included conducting an interview over the phone…

That’s not how it went, I just wanted a Star Wars gif. Just do it.

…the previously mentioned jam session, and assisting in the Hackastory masterclass at TU Delft – (Delft University of Technology).

I initially didn’t think the jam session had anything to do with Hackastory. The truth of the matter is that on the first day of my internship I tiptoed in. Well, what’s the point, I ask you, of tiptoeing in when you can dive into the deep end? Just do it. This mentality has been paying off and it’s making its way into other facets of my life – the jam session, for example. There’s a quote that I’d always thought had been attributed to Michael Jordan but apparently was first said by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky:

“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Or, in the form I’ve heard it these past few weeks:

“Just do it.”

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