The other day my little brother was talking to me about his parent-teacher conference for his youngest daughter.  She is in the dual immersion Spanish-English program at her school and is in first grade.  Apparently, she is at the top of her class in a lot of ways, but she is performing at about a C level in her oral exams in Spanish.  Upon further investigation, it turns out that she just keeps answering that she doesn’t know without really TRYING to see if she might know the answer with a little effort.

As we were talking about it further, I realized that my niece does this about a lot of things.  She looks for the easy way out because she doesn’t like doing things that she isn’t already good at.  For example, even though she is an excellent reader for her age, she still asks people to spell things for her or to read things to her instead of figuring it out for herself if it is a difficult or unusual word.  Now if you push her on it, she will figure it out for herself, but she doesn’t want to do that unless she has to.

The realization then hit me (like a ton of bricks) that my niece and I are similar in this way.  I don’t like doing things that I am not good at already.  I know, I know…sometimes you have to do things that you aren’t good at now so that you can be good at them in the future.  But I still don’t like it and I don’t want to do it that way.  I just want to concentrate on the things that I am good at and ignore the other things!  The problem with that is that sometimes those things we aren’t good at are really important things!

A while back, I really wanted to do a triathlon (I never got to due to some injuries, but that’s a different story for another day).  The big problem with that?  I am a terrible runner and I hate doing it.  But you know what I did?  I ran anyway.  I had a goal that I wanted and there was literally no way I could accomplish that goal without doing something that I am no good at.  And you know what else?  Eventually, I learned to like running and I got better at it!  Don’t get me wrong…I am still not a great runner and I still prefer other methods of exercise, but I did it despite the fact that I wasn’t good at it.

Sometimes our businesses are like that too.  There is a goal that we want to reach and there is something in our way that we are not good at.  Well, you have three choices: 1) Quit and don’t meet your goal (NOT my recommendation by the way).  2) Get someone else to do the thing for you that you aren’t good at.  3)  Do it anyway and you will get better at it and reach your goal!

I get it.  I really do.  Doing things that we aren’t good at already sucks.  It is much less fun than doing things that we love and that we excel at.  Do it anyway.  Learn and grow from the experiences.  Don’t give up before you have even tried.  Learn from my experiences (and my niece)…you absolutely CAN do it.  And if you still don’t want to after you have learned how, then don’t.  But don’t sell yourself short that you CAN’T just because to HAVEN’T yet.