My friend came over the other day to help me repair a broken showerhead. The shower had been out of commission for months. Six months ago, I decided to try to fix it. I'm not particularly handy.
I did quite well with my repair job but was stuck when I couldn't fasten the showerhead pipe enough to make it point down instead of up. I had ideas to rectify the problem, but I was worried I would strip the thread and break the pipe. So I left it. For six months.
I feared I would break it because I didn't believe in myself. I didn't have the confidence.
My friend's dad is a handy man too. Those talents are passed down from generation to generation. I don't recall ever seeing my dad with a hammer or screwdriver. In addition to no handy inspiration, he also cursed me.
My dad famously once exclaimed, "If someone is going to f*** up, it's going to be Dave." He might have said it more than once, but regardless it stuck in my mind like a white-hot bull brand.
Bull, it took me years to realize it was bull. Heather taught me that. My dad was a prick to me growing up. I was a prick too, but he was the parent, so he earned much higher marks in the prick department.
I think of this constantly with my kids. I can't fool them into thinking I'm a talented handyman, but I can empower them to believe that they can be. That's what I strive for. I'm not a perfect parent (nobody is), but I am always careful not to put them down.
If you have little people in your life, think before you speak. Do the same when conversing with your employees, or friends, or anyone seeking feedback. That line my dad fed me (and my friend who witnessed my embarrassment) slowed my personal progress for many years. It still sticks with me today.
Be careful with your words
My mum once had a fridge magnet that read, "Love is remembering an unkind word can hurt." It's a good reminder for us all. Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.
If you struggle with self-doubt, know that you are not alone. In fact, everyone does to some degree. My old friend, John Morgan, shared some great tips on overcoming self-doubt here.
Photo from Flickr by Frédéric Glorieux.