“I can do that,” I said calmly as I looked across the table at a potential client. All the while, in my head I hear a loud, and frantic voice saying, “Are your crazy? You have never done that. You don’t know how to do that!”
This was in the early days of Roundpeg and people were not exactly beating down the doors to work with me. I was excited to be sitting in front of someone who actually had money to spend on marketing, so I decided I would figure it out. Sure, it was a little outside my comfort zone, but it wasn’t as if I was signing up to do accounting. That first project opened up the door to many related opportunities and projects and changed the course of Roundpeg.
The trait that made me comfortable saying “I can do that” is common among successful entrepreneurs. It is what allows us to take on the challenges we aren’t always prepared for as we grow our companies.
But this trait isn’t limited to entrepreneurs. It is equally valuable to anyone interested in doing more then they do today. Early in my career, I convinced my boss to let me lead a project with my team instead of hiring an outside consultant. The successful execution of the project led to a promotion into my favorite job in my corporate career. I would never have had that shot if I hadn’t put my hand up and asked for it.
Today, as a business owner, I look for that trait in my employees and my interns. I don’t always spell out everything I want done. I don’t always know the answers. What I do know is that if someone steps forward and says they want to try, I am always willing to let them and support them in their efforts.
Sometimes it won’t work out. I know that is part of the risk when you try to create a culture of innovation, creativity and courage. So when it doesn’t work out the way we hoped, the emphasis is on what we learn so the next time one of us is tempted to say “We can do that,” we really can.