Fairy dust does exist. You can find it in the bag of failures you’ve been collecting all your life. The Urban Dictionary defines it as “A Glittery powder that can provide magical events, actions or dreams to happen”. So, apparently, if you want your dreams to come true, you need to sprinkle a little fairy dust around.
If someone says “I’ve never failed at anything I’ve put my mind to”, its’ because they either lack imagination or they haven’t aimed high enough. If all you try to accomplish are things you’ll good at, it makes sense that you’ll never fail. And while you’re not failing, you’re not growing. You’re not learning. You’re not getting better.
If you want to improve your tennis game, you need to lose to someone better than you. If you want to learn how to build a website site, you’ll probably need to build some lousy ones first. If your intention is to become a good writer, you’ll have to write a lot of junk on the way to your goal.
I like basketball. Which is strange, because as people who know me are aware, I am what you would call “vertically challenged”. My draft card had me listed at 5’5”. I wish. I recently dipped under 5’4”. So, when someone 6’10” dunks a basketball, I’m not too impressed. When that same person palms a basketball with a hand that could hide a loaf of bread, I’m not astounded. However, if you strap a pair of ice skates on them, ask them to perform a triple jump, and they nail the landing, then I’m impressed.
I think it’s pretty obvious where I’m going with this. We all have things that we find easy. Things that come naturally. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard work to really excel at them. Michael Jordan didn’t become who he was without years of work and practice. Michelangelo didn’t create the Pieta on his first block of marble. It took him years of failure, dedication and study to create this truly magnificent work of art.
People say “you can achieve anything you put your mind to”. I’m sorry, that’s just plain stupid. I will never dunk a basketball (unless they set the hoop at 7 feet). Bryant McKinnie, starting left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens is 6’8” and weighs in at 380 pounds. I don’t care how hard he tries, he will never be on stage with the New York City Ballet Company. We all have things that we can’t do. However, I believe that we have many more things we can do, then we can’t.
If you really want to achieve greatness in your business, you’ve got to challenge yourself. You have to get good, and then great, at things not now in your wheelhouse.
The poet Noela Evans, wrote “Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth… Tame the dragon the gift is yours.”.
To expand on her metaphor a bit, could you get burned in the process? Most likely. Will you need to figure out how to avoid this? Of course. Are you going to have to learn how to overcome your fear? You bet. Will you succeed where others have failed? Well, that’s up to you.