I’d like to write a book someday, but… I’m not just that great of a writer.
I’d like to try something new, but… I’m afraid I would just embarrass myself.
I know I’ve been guilty of this way of thinking.
Often we make excuses for not trying something new because we don’t want to fail at it. This is especially true for us perfectionists.
In fact, the more things you’re really good at, the more likely this type of thinking will pop up and try to hold you back.
The reason for this is that you set such a high standard with the work you do, that others expect you to be as good at everything else you do. At least that’s what the crazy little voice inside my head tells me from time to time.
This thought is not without a certain measure of reason. I remember a student who I went to high school with. He told me that he could easily get all “A’s”, but if he managed all “A’s”, and then ended up with a “B” his parents would be upset. So he just tried a little less, got mostly “B’s” and then his parents celebrated whenever he occasionally “managed to get an A.”
But the truth is: no one is an expert at anything first time.
No one picks up a guitar and records top-selling song on the first try.
Nobody jumps into a swimming pool and wins the Olympic gold metal on their first day learning to swim.
Even Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were terrible the first time they picked up a basketball (Yes, I just dated myself there).
In fact, I thought about this when I saw my son pick up a basketball the other day.
Yes, he missed his first shot, but that didn’t stop him from trying again. He had a lot of fun shooting a basketball – over and over and over again – even though it wasn’t even going in the basket to start with.
What a celebration we had the first time it did go in!
What can you and I learn from this?
Don’t let fear of failure stop you from trying something new – even the best professionals were all terrible before they were great.