I saw this Zig Ziglar quote on the Girls Gone Strong Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. I printed it out and put it up in the gym. I think it’s great. I think it’s concise. I think it’s simple. And I think it’s something I need to tell myself every single day.
I won’t lie – my brain loves this quote, but doesn’t believe it. I used to be someone who wouldn’t try if there was even a possibility of failure. I would only start a project, join a group, or try something new if I was pretty sure I’d be awesome at it right off the bat. This is why, historically, I don’t play video games, juggle, or cook omelettes. At some point in the past, I got up the courage to try, wasn’t immediately the best at it, and quit.
Even writing this blog post will take me hours because I will second-guess every single word, wondering whether or not what I’ve written is great.
I have a couple of clients who call this second-guessing, “the chorus of idiots”. These are the voices that tell you not to take a chance, since you’re only going to fail anyway.
” Don’t go to the gym, you’ll just make a fool out of yourself.”
“Don’t go back to school, you’re way too old to try something new.”
“Don’t take a risk on a new career, you’ll bankrupt your family.”
Whatever the specific situation, the message from the chorus of idiots is the same – “you’re not the best, why even try.” We often expect instant mastery of ourselves. And when it doesn’t happen, we just throw in the towel. It was roller derby that first taught me that it’s okay not be perfect. That maybe you can’t get everything right the first time. And that not being perfect is totally okay. It took me months to learn how to T-stop, and when I finally did it right, I felt like I’d won the Superbowl of T-Stopping. I would never have felt how amazing it is to master something that didn’t come easy. Let me tell you, it’s a way better feeling than mastering something that you were pretty sure you could do all along.
I’m currently reading Outliers (a really great book to have on tape when you have a 5-hour drive to Michigan and back) and Malcolm Gladwell lays the reality of success out beautifully. He says, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.. ” He asserts that, “researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” Ten thousand hours. Not one session with a trainer. Not one online course. Not a half-hearted week handing out business cards. Ten thousand devoted hours.
So let’s all give ourselves a break and accept that it’s okay to not be great right away. Let’s know that if we listen to the chorus of idiots, we lose. We lose the risk of failure, sure, but we also lose the opportunity to be great. So take that chance – whether it’s starting that new training program you’ve been thinking of, learning a new skill, or taking your life in a new direction. Try, let yourself fail, and try again. That way lies greatness.
And once you’ve made that first start, let me know. I’ll try to make you an omelette.