“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell em, “Certainly I can!” — and get busy and find out how to do it.”
I love Teddy Roosevelt ~ not for his politics or his somewhat haphazard approach to foreign affairs, but for his absolutely confident approach to life ~ and this quote is right in line with that “Bully Boy” attitude.
That said, let’s look a little closer at this one . . .
In general, we are all faced with times when we are accepting a responsibility that is beyond our current capabilities or experiences. This is often called “Promotion“, “A Step Up“, “Opportunity” or even my personal favorite, “A Challenge“. Oops, forgot the current favorite terminology: “This’ll stretch your talents.” . . . of course, so will overly tight jeans and a noose.
We have to risk and change to grow. If we do not try to grow, then we resemble that trite, old, but rather accurate saying:
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”
So we need to do this kind of career stretching and may be even more tempted these days to engage in wishful optimism about our own abilities, I do believe we need to do so while considering the following:
1) When conveying ability in a situation puts others at risk
Every so often, we hear about someone who is not a licensed nurse or doctor somehow being able to practice. Hats off to them for their achievement, but I do not want them prescribing, poking, or prodding me. The person who graduated at the bottom of their medical class still has more credibility.
2) When a question of ethics is involved
There is having confidence that you can develop a skill rapidly in the right situation and then there is lying about yourself. I can learn a great many skills if I have the opportunity to practice and have shown the ability to become quite good at something in a short time.
I have used Adobe Captivate on several occasions and have enough knowledge of this e-learning tool to be “up to speed” fairly quickly.
I cannot do certain things and would require massive doses of professional development to become able to do those things. Using the professional e-learning tool Dreamweaver comes to mind here.
3) When claiming ability will make you feel guilty.
This one is simple. Here’s my basic rule for ethical behavior in life:
“If it is going to make you feel guilty, do not do it.”
Sometimes the critical question is not “Can I do this?” or “Can I learn this?”. The critical question should always include a healthy reflection on how you will feel when you face yourself in the morning.
“If I do this, how will I feel about myself?”
Even in this economy, you need to ask yourself this question about every opportunity and how you approach it.
“I cannot do this yet. Here is my thinking on what it would take for me to be able to do this, along with all the other positive things I bring to this table. Let’s continue to talk.”
What other considerations have I missed here?
With apologies to my favorite “Rough Rider” as I ponder his words in the Heartland . . .