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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

New Rule: You Have to Start Adding "Yet" to Every Sentence That Starts With "I Can't"

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Think of the last time you asserted that you just weren’t good at something. Got it? Alright, now take that sentence and add the word “yet” to the end of it.

I can’t become an engineer because I don’t know how to code… yet.
I’m not a good enough public speaker to pitch myself for keynotes… yet.
I can’t master the perfect pie crust... yet.

It’s amazing how much that one three-letter word can shift your mindset, isn’t it? That’s exactly why entrepreneur and author, Seth Godin, dedicated an entire blog post to this encouraging trick.

Here’s the thing: It’s easy to limit ourselves. If there’s something we don’t have a lot of experience with or there’s a skill that’s not currently in our repertoire, we’re all pretty quick to write ourselves off—as if it’s not a thing we were meant to do, simply because we aren’t inherently good at it.

I’ve done that very thing more times than I can count. When I started freelancing, I beat myself over the head with the fact that I knew nothing about creating a website. However, it wasn’t long before I had built my own online writing portfolio.

When a friend asked if I’d run a 5K with her, I told her that I wasn’t capable of running three miles. But, I did just that only a few months later. My list of personal examples goes on and on.

As Godin reminds us, it’s not the fact that you’re not good enough or skilled enough or savvy enough to do that intimidating thing—it’s that you just can’t do it yet. Some things require a little more elbow grease and dedication than others.

“It’s true that you’re not good enough yet,” Godin says, “None of us are. But if you commit to trying hard enough and long enough, you’ll get better.”

So, no, you may not be a skilled photographer or a top-notch writer or a masterful networker right at this moment—but, rest assured, that doesn’t mean you can’t get there. There’s a big difference between saying you can’t do something and saying you can’t quite do it yet.