I am not a fast learner … and I wouldn’t call myself creative. If I have an aptitude, I suppose it’s that once I “get” something I really get it and can often make a contribution. If I throw myself into something, I don’t rest or relax until I feel I’ve mastered it.
I mention this because I’ve met too many people who have told me — often at our first encounter — “I’m a fast learner” (maybe) or “I’m creative” (doubtful) or “I’m great at multi-tasking” (every scientific study says otherwise).
On the outside, I usually nod politely, but inside I’m usually scoffing. The inner me wants to reply by saying, “So create something! You have five minutes” or “OK, I need you to make lasagna while you change the oil in this tractor and solve this algebra problem.” Usually, though, I restrain myself. I’m civilized enough to know that my internal dialogue should remain just that.
Of course, some people really are creative, and there are definitely some fast learners out there.
But I suspect most of the people who think that of themselves are optimistic at best. After all, half the people we know are below average by definition, right?
I try to be very honest with myself. I try to have a grasp of what I can do and what I can’t, what I’m good at and where I need help. I’m just as certain that I fall short in properly assessing myself more often than I’d care to admit. I’m a work in progress and expect to be until I draw my last breath.
But this is about you, not me. When you strip away all pretense and unnecessary pride (a deadly sin, after all), what are you good at? What do you bring to the table? Why are you the right man or woman for the task that’s staring you in the face? And where do you need help or growth or … something?
It’s tough to admit that we can’t do something quite the way the think it needs to be done … or that we can’t do it as quickly as we’d like. But without a willingness to admit these things, we doom ourselves to failure.
I don’t know anyone with any self-respect who doesn’t think he’s pretty good at something. And if a person is right in his assessment, he certainly has something to offer. What is it that you offer? What do you bring to the retail tackle business that can make it better, stronger, more profitable?
And, perhaps more importantly, are you doing it?
In this job, I meet a lot of fishing industry “experts” who were struggling because they couldn’t admit where they fell short or needed help. They took their expertise and went quietly out of business.
I wonder if they’d have been more honest with themselves maybe they could have saved their business and reputation. If they had sought help in time could they have turned things around? If they had recognized the gifts of other people, could they have discovered the right mix?
I wish I could say I’m immune to this particular malady, but I know I’m not. Sometimes we need to be able to get out of our own way to succeed.
A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s be that tide.