Today I finished my second Spanish course of the year. As my classmates and I packed up our stuff, our teacher left us with some final words. He reminded us that no one starts out an expert in anything. To get anywhere, we must practice, practice, practice.
This past class was made up entirely of retirees and me. These were folks who had been experts in their various fields and were now tackling a new thing, learning Spanish. Week after week we collectively struggled with getting the words out of our mouths in Spanish. Finally one week, someone voiced what we all felt when she said, “I just don’t want to sound stupid.” Our Spanish teacher looked at us and essentially told us (lovingly) to “get over it.” He reminded us that most of the time people are thrilled when any attempt is being made to communicate in someone’s native tongue. He also reminded us that people will get the general gist even if you use the wrong tense. But that no progress will be made if we don’t even attempt to speak but instead simply wait for our sentence structure to be perfect.
Perfectionism is a twenty ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.” -Brene Brown
So my class and I continued to plug along. Sometimes I felt like Spanish effortlessly flowed out of my mouth, other times I stumbled through the basics. But watching others let go of their ego and fumble through the language with confidence, was such an honor to be around. It inspired and encouraged me. At the end of the day, we saw each other in a very raw and vulnerable state. We were stripped of our titles and accolades and were simply students of all ages.
“There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.” -Amy Poehler
I totally get that it’s terrifying trying new things. I’m with you. But it’s so worth it. When you can get past “sounding stupid” regarding whatever new thing you are tackling, you have that much more courage for your next endeavor.
Remember, where does the magic happen? Outside of your comfort zone.
You’ve got this.
Take care of YOU.