Even experienced negotiators often feel anxiety about beginning a new negotiation. Subjects in this study described these opening moments with vivid imagery and metaphors, among them: lurking wolves, alligators, tightropes, and rushing trains. People's deep-seated worries can be triggered by several factors: doubts about personal competence, fear about the attitudes and behavior of other parties, and the inevitable uncertainty about what path negotiation will take. The author compares openings in other contexts, notably in the arts, to illustrate how the impact of anxiety need not be entirely negative. These feelings can also spark creativity and support constructive relationships.