A while back a friend of mine (a young and very attractive woman) told me about the shortest blind date she ever had. The man arrived at her door to pick her up, took one look at her, said he needed to run to Wal-Mart to get something and never returned. He later told her in an email: “You’re out of my league.” Needless to say, she was not flattered.
I’ve been waiting for the chance to share that—and this topic lets me do it. It reminds me of a great book by C. S. Lewis: The Problem of Pain. Early into the book, I was struck by a comment he made in his Preface. In it, he confesses that he was writing this book at the request of his publisher, and that objectively, he did not feel qualified to do so.
So essentially, as Lewis is introducing you to his then-latest book, he was also sharing a disclaimer that he “…did not live up to [his] own principles!” Apparently he felt at the time his life experience (I’m assuming this was before his wife had passed—an adversity about which he later wrote quite a bit) just did not yield him the wisdom required to complete such a task. Yet here it is.
Personally, I found solace in his statements. How many of us have walked into a situation—be it a job interview, a prospect meeting, or even a date, and felt that we just aren’t good enough to make the cut? Personally, it’s a feeling I struggle with ALL the time—especially when I have to speak before a group, or simply attend an educational function with other parents. Or even as I share a blog-space with other highly qualified professionals here on Market Leadership Journal.
Then I am reminded of what I told my publisher nearly twenty years ago when pitching my book Don’t Wait until You Graduate. The question was: “What makes you qualified to write this book?”
My answer was simple: “I’m qualified to write this book because…duh?…I already wrote it. Hello?” (Okay, I wasn’t really quite so flip.)
Of course, the book was there to speak for itself…as are the results you create and have created for other people throughout your career. But it still begs the question: Have you always been the best choice for the task? The awful truth is NO. None of us are. But you did the task anyway—and often exceeded expectations. Am I right?
I share this point today because many of you may be experiencing challenges of which you do not feel up to the task. As we all visit with new prospects in an effort to find that next customer or land that new job, we will undoubtedly feel as though we are out of our league. And in many cases, that feeling is correct.
Believe it or not, this is a good thing. It means you are stretching yourself. You are stepping out of your comfort zone and you are thus GROWING. In fact, if you are still IN your league, perhaps it is time you stepped out.