don’t disqualify yourself

In inspiration, learning, motivation by Jay Clouse

I’ve had a lot of conversations over the last year with people about their goals, aspirations, and desires. It’s one of my favorite topics to dig into, and by virtue of the work I’ve created for myself, it’s happening more frequently.

I’ve noticed a weird pattern, and it’s a behavior that I now try to identify and squash in myself. It’s around another familiar topic here on the blog: rejection.

Until we’ve faced rejection enough times that we either become comfortable with it, or, dare I say, crave it, we are completely averse to it.

Until we’ve developed a thick skin and learned how to deal with rejection, we do everything in our power to avoid it completely. And a popular way of doing that is to simply not try.

Time and time again, I’ll hear individuals disqualify themselves from an opportunity they are excited about. Worse, women tend to do this at a much higher frequency than men.

According to the study above, men are confident enough to pursue an opportunity if they have 60% of qualifications. Women, on the other hand, tend to want to feel comfortable that they meet 100% qualifications before pursuing the same opportunity.

This is at least part of the reason we have so many crummy dudes in positions of authority!

But I digress.

I’d like to advocate that no person, regardless of gender or qualifications, preemptively disqualify themselves from an opportunity they are excited about. What’s the point?

If someone agrees you are underqualified, they may disqualify you from the opportunity. But if they disagree and think you are qualified, or if you’re the most qualified of those who took the initiative to pursue the opportunity, you are in a good spot.

If you disqualify yourself, your chances of success are exactly zero.

I’ve definitely taken some longshots and fallen on my face. I’ve taken some longshots and gotten lucky, too. And I’ve taken some longshots that didn’t turn out to be longshots at all — I was just underestimating myself.

Another way to think about it: At some point, everything is a numbers game. The more shots on goal you take, the more shots you’ll actually make. The best way to ensure you hit the goal is to take more shots.

So take the shot — what’s there to lose?


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