It’s Not Too Late to Learn How to…[INSERT SKILL HERE!]

 

Creepy girl from The Ring learns how to play baseball!

Creepy girl from The Ring learns how to play baseball!

In elementary school I chose not to speak.

Not even when I needed to ask to use the bathroom.

So I peed in my pants during math class. I did it another time too, during history class. Both times, peeing seemed more appealing than speaking up in front of a group.

(And you thought you were shy as a kid.)

But this classic introvert leads a double life. Here in adulthood, I’m kind of a public speaking goddess.

I’ve worked every type of audience you can think of. No matter the size, nature of the event, or demographics of the group, I’ve made ‘em think, feel and laugh. I’ve also scored nearly every job I’ve interviewed for because I’m excellent under pressure. Whether I’ve prepared ahead of time or chosen to improvise, it makes no difference. I’m good at connecting, at making people feel something. Not bad for a former mute.

This handy skill has brought me everything from incredible career opportunities, to new friends, to cool gigs, to free stuff, to handsome men to date.

Guess you could say mah skillz have gotten me paid AND laid. Oh my!

And Your Point Is???

So why do I gloat so shamelessly?

Because you probably need to learn a skill that seems unnatural for you at this time, and you’re wondering if it’s even possible.

Here’s the secret: You learn a new skill when you have no other choice. It happens when you accept a challenge you don’t feel ready for, and you do this over and over again until one day you wake up a changed person. I developed strong public speaking skills because every job I’ve had required me to be funny, insightful and engaging. So I either had to learn how to be those things or get fired.

Necessity is a great motivator.

Where You Might Be Stuck

Many of us believe that because we were born with a particular temperament, we cannot build a skill that feels extremely unnatural at first. We don’t believe in our potential for success because we underestimate our ability to change and grow.

While it’s true that natural talent is incredibly important, I believe that we can, at the very least, drastically improve at any skill, particularly if this skill is needed to accomplish a goal we hold close to our heart.

Most skills are often born out of necessity, improved over time thanks to openness and courage. Life is your best teacher.

Why I’m So Invested in Today’s Message

Admittedly, I’ve have had to convince myself that all of the above is true. It hasn’t been easy.

The new business I’ve started with my husband requires me to think like a savvy business owner after a lifetime of thinking like a helping professional, a creative, and a hopeless goofball. It requires me to tackle marketing and sales despite having no formal training in these areas. And since we’re providing a creative service that no other business offers right now, there’s literally no model for us to follow.

There is an evil voice that whispers, Why bother? You don’t have the proper degree or training for such an endeavor. Who do you think you are, believing that you can be successful at anything other than what people already know you for? YOU ARE NOT THAT SPECIAL.

The evil voice has a point. I was not born into a family of entrepreneurs, nor born with the personality of an extroverted, opportunistic business person.

But there’s something the evil voice has forgotten: I’ve gone from being a mute girl who wets her pants in school to a charismatic communicator. So who knows what else I’m capable of?

That’s what happens when you’re brave enough to learn by fire. Whatever you need to learn is at your fingertips, as long as you’re not afraid to embarrass yourself on the first few tries. Balls of steel, baby: they’re the prerequisite to acquiring any skill you need.

Your Turn: What skills have you acquired in the School of Life that once felt unnatural for your personality and temperament? What skill would you like to learn?

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5 Responses to It’s Not Too Late to Learn How to…[INSERT SKILL HERE!]

  1. Steph says:

    This has been true for me with driving. I got my lisence at 16 but really only drove in the city in the daytime and then from college onward didn’t do much driving at all until the past couple years. I still don’t like expressways and night driving all that much but the more I do it the easier and less scary it becomes. And this winter has been a lesson in driving in the snow lol.
    I really liked this post. I definitely have been feeling burnt out and this is an inspiring reminder that its never too late to learn and try new things :)

    • Kimberly says:

      You’re living proof that there’s always a chance we can surprise ourselves. Lots of frequent practice, balls-o-steel, and BAM, you’re driving. Good job!

  2. Moz says:

    I have to learn Italian fluently. I am terrified.

    But I have to do it.

    • Kimberly says:

      Are you going to Italy for something school-related? I thought I remember you mentioning it before.

      My college roommate who majored in French went to France for a semester for a Study Abroad program, and she said she learned more French in those few months just being in that environment than she had learning it in school over a few years. Good luck!

      • Moz says:

        It’s mainly for translating purposes, but also so that I can read and speak it fluently for when I travel and take fellowships and stuff like that. It’s absolutely necessary for what I want to do as a career, so it really has to be my priority for the next 18 months, even more important than the research I will do.

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