I am a big Dave Barry fan. Not so big that I follow everything he writes – in fact, I just finished my first, and his latest, book entitled “I’ll Mature When I’m Dead”. It was funny. Like, sitting in bed laughing OUTLOUD hoping not to wake the kids kind of funny.
But tucked among the sarcasm, humor and self-deprecation, Dave actually incorporates little nuggets of wisdom, whether he means to or not. Last night I came across one passage that really got me thinking (one reason I liked this book so much right now was that, for the most part, it didn’t require ANY thinking).
Dave was talking about kids’ sports these days and how parents are so involved, sometimes a little too much. He cites examples like screaming on the sidelines and convincing kids of being really great at something they actually show little ability to grasp. Of his own athletic abilities as a child he said,
“I learned, for example, that even though I was not as big, or fast, or strong, or coordinated as the other kids, if I worked really hard—if I gave 100 percent and never quit—I would still be smaller, slower, weaker and less coordinated than the other kids. In other words, I learned that even though I enjoyed playing sports, I sucked at them. And understanding that you suck at some things is useful information in life. The world would be a better place if people were fully cognizant of their areas of suckage.”
Amen. I’m known for being fairly straight-forward, and will readily admit when I’m really not very good at something – math, computers, miniature golf, and swimming for any purpose other than not drowning. And it’s funny, and sometimes incredibly frustrating, when someone tries to convince me otherwise. “Oh, I bet you’d really like mini-golf, and are probably really good at it, if you’d just try.” Ummmm, no. I’ve tried many, many times, and I a) don’t like it at all, and b) really suck at it. TRUST ME.
I started thinking about this in professional terms. How many times have I come across someone who thinks they can do everything for their business? They know what their customers like, they know how to reach and sell to them most effectively, they know how to write copy for things ranging from newsletters to ads. There’s little they don’t know, and by golly, they sure don’t suck at any of this! That’s their business!
No it’s not. Their business is to make a profit (or, in the case of non-profits, to keep the organization going and growing). They are where they are in the business because they know how to do certain things really well. There are areas where they excel, and areas where they really aren’t very good. We all have these. The best thing to do is to admit what you’re NOT good at, and find someone who is good to help you! There is nothing wrong with admitting that. In fact, I admire people who do it.
I’m not going to get specific because everyone is good at different things. I just thought I’d start the reflection process for others as Dave started it for me. What are you good at? What are your areas of suckage? Are you trying to convince others that you’re really good at something you’re not? Why?