I wanted to help. In one of my old jobs, we needed a designer. As a small company, we were spread thin. And I took the reigns on the design project.
I’m not a designer. Not even close. I worked hard, stayed up late, and tried to effort my way through the work. It flat out stunk. It wasn’t good enough.
This is when I learned a valuable lesson. You can’t be good at everything. It’s a humbling process to discover the skills you’re not good at doing. But it’s necessary.
So what do you do when you’re not good enough?
We all strive to do good work. When you’re not good enough, don’t hide it. Accept it.
Fight through it and keep working. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Take the story of Michael Jordan.
Leroy Smith, a 6’7” sophomore, made the Laney High School over his classmate Michael Jordan in 1978. Jordan was so driven to improve his craft that he used Smith as motivation to succeed. In fact, when he checked into hotels at a professional, Jordan used the name ‘Leroy Smith’ as an alias.
As a lanky guard at UNC, he made the first of what we would be several game winning shots in the 1982 National Championship game. When it was time for the NBA Draft a couple years later, Jordan was again passed for a taller player.
After Hakeem Olajuwon was selected first overall by the Houston Rockets, the Portland Trialblazers were on the clock. Legendary coach Bob Knight recalls a conversation with Stu Inman, the General Manager of the Trailblazers, who insisted his team needed a center. Knight replied, “So play Jordan at center!”
Inman and Portland took Sam Bowie, and passed on Jordan. The rest is history.
He could of quit when others thought he wasn’t good enough, but Jordan never stopped working on his game.
“My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.”
You’re probably not going to be the next Michael Jordan. But it doesn’t mean you should just quit. Improvement takes time.
When you’re not good enough, fight through it.