As I get older, reality and human nature for me are peeled back in layers like an onion. I’ll meet a person that completes the formation of an archetype, similar to the straw that broke the camel’s back. I think, well, that strain of douchebag or victim or scatterbrain has been categorized and named. I’ve seen that type before, and I’ll see it again. People aren’t that surprising. And I’m finding I’m not that surprising to myself. I ain’t gonna wake up complete one day with good habits nailed and my entire personal and professional to-do list checked off, fresh and ready for more.

That being said, I’ve noticed a new strain of folk lately. It’s the one that rolls out a red carpet of excuses for themselves before they meet you or present their work to you. You know, the people that maintain an online blog and say, “Get ready for mediocrity!” Or the people that say, “I’ve always wanted to help, but I’m a procrastinator!” Or the people that say “Don’t expect much!” Or my own personal one I use a lot, “I really don’t know what I’m doing!”

We all have insecurities. We’re all gonna fail. We’re all gonna fall short. We’re gonna fall off the horse. Someone’s gonna do the same thing we’re trying to do and do it better and get more attention for it. But it’s the way a person manages that reality that separates them from the rest.

Many of the successful people I know have mentors. This means that in what they have chosen to challenge themselves with, they have found someone that does it better, bigger, or more often. That kind of person doesn’t expect themselves to be the best (who’s the judge of that? And really…who notices?) or the fastest. They simply know what they’d like to accomplish and dedicate themselves to the task. Ears closed. Eyes ahead. My mentor in life right now just keeps busy  most of the time. He is not the best at what he does. He’s talented, but more than that, he’s a hard worker. He’s got a mentor that he will never stand on the same plane with, but he ain’t crying about competing. He isn’t trying to. He just produces — and produces without making excuses for himself.

I get embarrassed when people apologize for the quality of work when they present it to the world, whether it be a blog, a self-published novel, public speaking, or even a weight loss goal. No one expects you to be the best, and you shouldn’t expect it from yourself. But you should meet the challenge. Lately, I keep finding more and more people rolling out the carpet of excuses and disclaimers before themselves and what they’re trying to do. It’s distracting. Success doesn’t begin with an excuse. “I’ve never been able to ______, but…” “I’m not really good at this stuff, but…”

A person has every right to try something new or to try to be good at something or to try to offer something to the world. And they have every right to not be the best. The fact that you are a human being is your disclaimer. You don’t need to talk about it. Go and do that very thing you want to do. Say that thing you wanted to say in the best way you can. Use your voice, but not against yourself in a self-deprecating manner. Use it for what you wanted to say in the first place. Stand behind your words. Stand behind your work.

I’m starting to discover that confident people aren’t better than anyone else. They don’t have fewer limitations. They just don’t waste time.

Just think about these people:
Helen Keller
David J. Pelzer
This Guy
Theodore Roosevelt
Maya Angelou
Oscar Pistorius

Now shut up and work.