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Claiming Our Incompetence
Happy Fearless Friday, Friends!
One of the very best things I did last year was develop a practice of lifting heavy things at the gym. It was not an easy or smooth transition for me. I cried a few times, I felt like a total fool many times, and I almost gave up. I used every tool in my habit-building toolkit to keep going and I’m so glad I did. I feel strong, I feel agile, and most importantly, I feel proud of myself for continuing.
I am reminded of that journey today as I have the great gift of spending a week in Mexico with a friend. I took Spanish in high school and college, but I’ve rarely used it since. I watch my normally bold confidence turn into a shy demure when I try to speak Spanish to locals. I’m pulling out all the same tools I used to lift the heavy weights last year, but the one I’m finding most useful is one I’ll call Claiming My Incompetence.
I’m telling servers and shop clerks and taxi drivers in a now well-rehearsed little greeting that my Spanish isn’t good, but I’m going to try anyway, so that I can hopefully become better at it. Unsurprisingly, they’ve gamely stepped in to be my teachers, coaches, and new best friends. Instead of pushing them away by looking down and pointing and trying (and doubtlessly failing) to keep my sorry Spanish skills a secret, I’m bringing them in with me, forming connections and learning so much more so much faster.
Whether you are writing a book, starting a new job, getting fit, building a business, starting a movement, or making friends, there are probably people around you, who have experience to share, who want to guide and support you, who want to share what they’ve learned.
Pretending that we know everything we are trying to learn never speeds things up.
So, what if we stopped trying to look cool, and like we have all the answers and already know our way around these strange lands?
What if, instead, we hold our hands up high and say, “Hi, I’m new here and I’d like to get to know you”?
Whatever change you’re making right now, here’s to boldly claiming your incompetence, and making new connections this week! You’re new here; it’s ok to ask for directions.
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