When an inspirational story is on the news, at some point you can bet that the success story says – in an effort to relate to everyman – “If I can do, it anyone can.” As if we’re all just happy little peas in a pod, alike in every way. It’s often uttered when someone has…
- Run a marathon
- Stopped smoking cold turkey
- Written a best selling book
- Lost 125 pounds
- Gotten married for the first time at 62
- Started a successful business with only $10 in their pocket
- Made a million dollars before turning 30
- Learned to walk again after traumatic injury
- Overcome depression
Essentially that person is saying that even thought she is just a regular Joe without any special skills, privileges or support, she did this amazing thing. So you, in all your equivalent ordinary-ness should be able to do it, too.
If one person can do it chances are somebody else could too. But not everyone. You have different life experiences, different mindsets, different resources, different skill sets, different physical capabilities. You get the drift.
If someone, perhaps a coach, gives you that line, think carefully about the ramifications of him having that opinion. How would that affect your work together? Is he going to understand your unique circumstances and be able to provide insight and guidance tailored specifically to you?
Sure, it can be inspiring to see someone do something great and be told that you can do it, too. But just because you are both humans isn’t enough to make it so, much less being a given. Stretch yourself by all means, but don’t feel like you should be able to accomplish a magnificent feat simply because someone else has done it. It just makes no sense.