My reflexes and response time are slower because of a birth injury. This is a fact. Because of it, I generalized that because I have slower reflexes I would therefore, always be inefficient at work.
Yes, there is some truth within my assumption. Let’s just say our work for an afternoon was playing basketball and you wanted to win. You’d very much hope I was on the opposing team.
But what so often happens with assumptions is that they take a limited experience and generalize it as an overarching truth.
What my generalization didn’t take into account were the many attributes that go into being an efficient worker, other than one’s reflexes, including:
- Becoming more organized and consistent
- Figuring out how to effectively prioritize tasks
- Learning how to juggle the countless small tasks of running a business with its larger components
- Being a better, more generous, gracious and helpful team player
- Managing stress better
- Working with technology more often and challenging myself to keep up with its many changes
- Becoming a better problem solver
And on it goes.
With this knowledge, I had a choice: I could choose to keep blaming my inefficiency on my disability OR I could focus on everything else that I could do to become more efficient at work.
Was this a lot to be responsible for? You betcha!
Did I take responsibility for all of it at once? Heck no!
Am I still learning more about the things on this list as I go? Of course I am!
I’m 48. It’s taken me my whole life to get to a point where I understand enough to know that I can chart a course in a different direction than my assumptions about my challenges.
Yes, those assumptions once blinded me to so many paths I could have taken. But that’s ok. The past is simply what it was. It’s unchangeable. So I try as much as I can to be grateful for the happy memories and also the learning opportunities
AND do my imperfect best to leave the rest of the past alone.
I don’t know if any of what I’ve said applies to you and the various challenges you face, much less how you might go about applying it. But I would be remiss if I didn’t at least share it in the hopes that you might reassess your fact and your fiction.
JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment. He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.
He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “Doing your Imperfect Best ™”.
His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.