I thought this image I’ve used on my homepage is fitting for this topic. It’s an image that shows some of my interests, and I do many things. Quite frankly, I taught myself how to do most of the things that I’m proficient at doing, and that’s pretty much how I’ve come to do most of what I do in my career and personal life. I just learn as I go.
Yes, I have a degree in architecture, but like most people who have earned a degree in a certain discipline would tell you, there’s a big difference between what you learn in school and what you end up doing professionally. Most of what I do at work, I had to learn AFTER graduating. Even some of the skills that I learned while I was in school, I didn’t quite learn in a classroom. I learned Photoshop, AutoCAD, rendering, and all the rest pretty much on my own. We were given assignments, and if I didn’t know how to use a program that I needed to use to finish them, then I better learn quick.
I often joke to my boss that I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time at work. It’s an exaggeration, but quite frankly, it’s not too far from the truth. I just learn as I go and accomplishing the task is always the only option. Somehow, I get through what I need to do, and I finish them looking like I knew what I was doing all along. I can’t think of a job I’ve ever had where I was 100% qualified from the get-go. I always had the basic skills, but I make up for the rest with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Army? I could barely run or do push-ups when I went to basic training. Pharmacy? I learned how to read prescriptions after I got my first pharmacy job. Graphic Design? Learned all the programs I know how to use by myself and practiced by doing free work for friends and family so that I could put some work into my design portfolio. Web Design? I made my first fully functional WordPress website for my current job after it was deemed necessary for us to start a new website. Through all these and many other experiences, I didn’t acquire many of the skills I needed until AFTER I accepted the opportunity to do them.
You see, I think that’s how people should operate. I’m not the kind of professional who knows it all; quite the contrary. I’m the kind of worker that doesn’t always know what I’m doing, and that’s okay for me, or anyone. We don’t always have to have all the skills needed to chase after a job, or accept an opportunity, or do anything else for us to be able to do them. The main quality that we need in order to get to the next step is the willingness to grow and learn. Don’t let your lack of skills or knowledge stop you from going after what you want to do. Learn as much as you can beforehand to prepare, but when the opportunity comes, seize it! If you fail, so what? It’s still better than not doing anything at all. In both instances, you didn’t finish, but in trying, you at least learned something. Hopefully, whatever you learned helped you grow and will propel you to the next step.
So go out there and take a chance. Open the door when opportunity knocks. Expand your horizon and do things you’ve always been afraid you can’t do. You might not know whether you’ll fail or succeed, but the only way to find out is if you try.
“What if I Fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?” -Erin Hansen