My ninth grader recently had to write two essays as part of an application to attend a STEM program at a local university.
Unsure of himself, he said, “I’m not great at writing.” My reply was, “You don’t have to be great; you only have to be able.”
When he’d finally written the essays and emailed them to me for my review, I was impressed, very impressed. I told him that besides punctuation errors, the essays were wonderful. I watched him stifle his smile when I told him he was more than able; in this case, he was actually very good!
I share this story because knowingly or unknowingly, often is the case that we erect our own barriers to great opportunities. When an opportunity presents, we can be quicker at finding ways to disqualify ourselves than to secure our moment.
Insecurity is a beast.
That is why I say, “You don't have to be great; just be able.”
Having the capacity to complete a task, in this case write an essay, is the only requirement. Use of grammar, knowing how to write an introduction, body and conclusion are the basics of essay writing. Writing that compels the reader to action, emotion or a yearning to learn more about the writer are simply wonderful bonuses. But this comes with practice-and sometimes just natural raw talent.
In any case however, we must each have just have a basic skill set in commonly required tasks such as writing, interviewing and public speaking. We can always improve to become better but just being able is foundational.
Let us change the way we think. Instead of thinking that we must be exceptional; it’d be less pressure to simply know that we must be able. And to become able, we must have practiced the skills. This way, when we are asked to write or speak; we needn’t worry ourselves with repetitions of, “I can’t speak in public,”, “I don't interview well” or "I'm really not that good." With practice, we can gain a competency of most things and eliminate any excuses or disqualifications. Our mantra will then be, “I can because I am able!”
As it happens, my ninth grader is an avid reader. I’ve always told him that to improve his writing, he should just keep reading. And he has. Turns out, he has decent writing skills. But the commotion in his head convinced him otherwise.
Many of us already possess the experience and skills that qualify us for the opportunities that open to us. We mustn’t let our doubts and insecurities convince us that we are misaligned when we are well able and sometimes, even great!
I encourage anyone who is reading this to give themselves grace and teach our children to do the same. Let us recognize that a basic skill set is good enough to get us going while we grow to greatness.
We must never ‘wait for great’ before capitalizing on favor.
Nurah strives to enlighten, empower and engage her readers with the wealth of knowledge she has gained from her own experiences and those of others from whom she has learned.