Does it drive you crazy when someone tells you that you can't do something?
It's amazing to me that despite our feel-good world, filled with optimistic promises that anyone can do anything and be whatever they want to be, people continue to verbalize their doubts about the abilities of others.
How many times have you been told that you couldn't do something? If I consider the significant role models in my life, I can think of many who have suggested that my abilities are limited, or that I should hold myself back. Teachers, bosses, peers? Check, check, and check. They've all expressed doubts. And you know what? That just makes me mad.
I'm not suggesting that I haven't had amazing role models in every area of my life. I absolutely have. Nor am I suggesting that I, or any of us, can achieve every single thing we attempt. I know I can't. But I would like to be encouraged to try, and then I'll figure out for myself what I can and can't do.
Recently, a role model suggested to me that I shouldn't attempt to learn a particular skill because I wouldn't be able to do it. Though I realize they were just expressing their (ignorant) opinion, their negativity continued to bother me. So, last week, I decided to prove them wrong. And you know what? I taught myself how to do the very thing they said I couldn't.
I'm not going to bring it up with them or rub it in their face, but it's very satisfying to realize that we can rise above other people's perceptions of our abilities. In my efforts to launch this website and further my small business, I have had to teach myself new skills that I never would have expected to acquire. I never anticipated I would know how to file a sales tax return, use a die-cutting machine, or build a website. But, over the past year or so, I realized that my passion lies in a more creative realm than I have been able to explore professionally up to this point. And I have committed to myself that I am going to pursue it as far as I possibly can. If it never amounts to what I hope for it, at least I can say that I have tried my best and acquired countless new skills along the way.
I would encourage all of you to do your utmost to follow your inner voice. There are few things as satisfying as being told you can't and then realizing you can. Oftentimes, we are our own biggest detractors. A year ago, if you told me I would own a small business and have my own website, I would have wondered how I could possibly get from there to here. I put this off for so long because what I thought I wanted sounded ridiculous, even in my own head. But after awhile, when the ideas kept flowing, I decided I couldn't ignore them anymore. Little harm can come from testing the waters. At the very least, you can sleep well knowing you did your best and that you CAN.