This is a phrase I’ve been telling myself on and off for as long as I can remember – a lot of us say this to ourselves.
I hear it all the time from people: “I can’t do this. I could never do that. Uh-uh, there’s no way.”
A couple of years ago, a friend asked if I wanted to do the Around the Bay Road Race, which is a 30 km run around Hamilton Bay. I had only started running four months before that and the farthest I had ever run was 5 km, and that was really tough for me. When I read the email, I laughed out loud, then immediately responded without thinking by saying I could never do that, but thanks for the offer.
Something about that left me cold afterwards. It preyed on me for a few days. I kept thinking, why couldn’t I? I’ve got two legs. I can put one in front of the other. What’s stopping me? So I said to myself, you most definitely CAN do this. In fact, you NEED to do this to PROVE it to yourself.
So, enlisting a couple friends and getting a schedule together, I trained through the winter. Believe me, getting up at 8 am on a Sunday morning to run in a windy minus 20 with snow blowing at you is NOT fun. But I kept at it and come the following February, I ran the race.
Crossing the finish line was an immensely satisfying moment. I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest. I had proved something to myself. See what you can do when you put your mind to it?
Over the years, I have come to realize the biggest reason you’re unable to do something is because you don’t allow yourself to do it. You believe it’s impossible and you don’t even try.
It’s true of the business we are in, too. Our business is filled with unknowns and unproven paths to create and follow.
It takes a leap of faith in yourself, whether you’re the designer, account manager, or client, to try out a new creative concept, to take a chance and do something outside of your comfort zone, to follow that path knowing full well the outcome is a mystery. But, if you stick to it, adjust as necessary and put in the work, the outcome will be rewarding.
Now, if this was a movie, it would be time for the end credits. Character fixed! Happily ever after.
But this is real life.
I was telling my brother about the race and he asked me, “That’s great. So what’s next? A marathon?”
I laughed. “I can’t do that”.