Monday, January 10, 2011
Love this publication, click about for the source website, food for thought below. As one perfectionist to another, I need to read and re-read this weekly for sure.
We've been talking about the things that could help you get
more out of your business. There's one that a lot of people
face, and few acknowledge: The fear that whatever you've
created is just not good enough.
It might be getting started, or it might be taking the step to
the next level, however high that may be. Too many of us get
stuck somewhere because we don't think we know enough or are
good enough to deserve it.
Most of the time, that assumption is wrong. Let's look at a
couple of quick examples that might make the point.
Some folks worry about grammar or perfect presentation. Unless
you're really, really bad, that's silly.
Imagine for a moment that you have one line to deliver. Just 12
simple words. You're on the grandest stage ever walked by man.
You have the largest audience there ever was, with literally
hundreds of millions of people watching, cheering you on. There
will be no second performance, and no-one will ever play your
Just that one line, this one time. And you blow it.
How would you feel?
Here's the line, as it was delivered:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Mrs. Wombat would have cringed, and then rapped Commander
Armstrong across the knuckles with her ruler.
Stated that way, 'man' and 'mankind' mean the same thing. The
sentence doesn't make sense. It was supposed to be "One small
step for _a_ man, one giant leap for mankind."
But does it matter?
The only people who ever think about that today are grammar
zombies and the people who hunt them. To the rest of the world,
it's as memorable as any line ever delivered. And for good
reason: They care about the spirit of the thing, not the
If you want people to remember your message, you don't have to
be perfect. You do have to have spirit.
Do you think Neil Armstrong will go down in history for the
most famous botched line ever? Do you think he spends his days
worrying and his night sleepless over having omitted a critical
word from his introduction to immortality?
Hell no. He didn't just put himself out there. He put himself
waaay out there. His leap was a leap of faith, taken on behalf
of every human being on the planet.
To paraphrase a famous redneck: "He got 'er done."
That's what counts.
There have been a lot of great speeches in the history of this
country. One of the most famous was given on August 28th, 1963,
by the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
I remember watching it on the TV news, then and many times
since. He was set to end the speech on a lower, more cautious
note. For whatever reason, he didn't feel it was right for the
time, or perhaps not as good as it might have been. We'll
probably never know for sure why he hesitated.
When she heard him getting ready to send the audience home,
Mahalia Jackson, one of the greatest gospel singers of all
time, encouraged him from the background. "Tell them about your
dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream!"
So, he went on. He told us about his dream. And he changed the
I was pretty young the first time around, and didn't really
understand it all. Still, I felt the power in that message at
the ripe old age of 5. Dr. King himself was only 34.
He never made it to 40.
There's a lesson in that story for anyone who has something to
say they believe is important: Say it the best way you can. Say
it with the will to move the mountains in your readers' hearts.
You don't have to be perfect, just true to your message.
But say it. You never know if you'll get another chance.
The odds are that the things you're hesitating over aren't
quite as historically significant as being the first man to
walk on the surface of the moon, or attacking the underpinnings
of a broad social injustice. But they're probably just as
important to you and your family.
That's why you're nervous.
That's normal. Just keep in mind that you get a second chance.
And a third. In fact, you get as many chances as it takes until
you get it right. And you don't have the entire world watching
and judging your every move.
So you're not perfect. So you screw up sometimes. Did you think
you wouldn't? Do you think anyone, anywhere, ever achieved
anything useful without mistakes along the way?
Congratulations. You're tied for first place. Just you and 7
billion other human beings.
People who've gotten good at something, even really, really
good at it, still make mistakes. They're not afraid of those
mistakes because they know the consequences and how to deal
You only tend to let fear of mistakes stop you when you don't
know the road at all. It's like traveling to somewhere you've
never been and worrying about ending up in the wrong place.
If it's a long trip, the odds are good you'll get lost at least
once. Getting lost is the result of a mistake. And how do you
fix it? You consult a map, or retrace your steps, or you stop
and ask for directions. Whatever you need to do to get back on
the right track.
The way most people handle fear of not being good enough is
very much like someone getting lost or hitting a detour and
deciding they're stuck wherever they are. They're not where
they want to be, but still they don't move.
Would that make any sense at all?
Do whatever research you need to decide on a destination, and
then to figure out some general directions. Then get started.
Make adjustments as you go along.
If you get lost, use that as an excuse to meet new people. If
you hit a detour, take in the scenery.
That makes it a lot easier to enjoy the ride.
That last part assumes you don't know what you're doing. A much
more common problem is people underestimating the value of
their own skills and knowledge.
That's easy to do. You learn things, for the most part, in bits
and pieces. None of them are usually all that big in
themselves. One small step after another. Before you know it,
you've lost sight of how far you've come.
King's march took a lot more than one small step, and
Armstrong didn't make it to the moon in one giant leap. But
they knew they had what it took to keep advancing. They may not
have believed they were "good enough," but somehow they were,
and they got there anyway.
So can you. Just make a map and get moving.
You're already good enough.
Now go do something about it.
Source: TalkBiz News