We All Start at the Beginning – The Question is, “How Far Along are You?”

Do you know what to do when you show up to work?

This is not a small point.

We all start out playing a little "mob ball"
We all start out playing a little “herd ball”

Have you every watched the youngest youth team play soccer? I’m talking sbout really young? About the only comparison to actual soccer is that they play on a field, with nets… I’ve heard it called “herd ball.” The players move in a “clump.”  It’s herd against herd… They don’t yet know what they are doing. They’re not ready for real soccer – yet.

The only way to get ready for real soccer is to start before you know what to do and how to do it.

But… it is expected that they will learn how the game is played, and how to fill their roles. As they get older, they add a little more knowledge, a little more expertise – and a lot more confidence.

I once knew a girl – you have to read this carefully – who was playing third base on her softball team. She was playing third base; out in the field, at third base, glove on her hand. Someone at bat hit the ball to the outfield. This girl scored on the hit – ran to home plate, and scored.   (Did you get it? She was playing defense and scored for the other team). Not yet knowledgeable!

So… what makes me think about all this. In addition to my business and other speaking, I also teach speech to first year college students. They do not yet know a whole lot as they begin the semester. When they first get up to speak, they don’t walk up with confidence; they don’t greet the audience with their eyes and body language, from their appropriate speaking spot, before they begin speaking. They don’t know the “things to do” when speaking – many speak in a monotone, too softly to hear, with few gestures…. Thus, they don’t demonstrate much self-confidence.

I suspect this is pretty universal, for practically any and every job. (I remember Barbara Ehrenreich describing how incompetent she felt as a server in a restaurant in her classic book, Nickel and Dimed). For example, I suspect that the first time a medical student practices incisions on a cadaver, they’re a little unsure of themselves.

The process is this – learn the process. Practice and drill. Master the process. Then, you’ll develop self-confidence. Then, you’re truly ready to work.

How far along are you?


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