Certainly I can: How to do what you don’t know how to do

“When asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. President

I have lived this statement, over and over again, in the last year and a half as a reporter, a career for which I had no 1440272177798formal training.  I have had the best OTJ training one could ask for though.  OTJ, my dad would say, stands for “on the job” training.

In order to have great OTJ, you must surround yourself with people willing to train or help. As a teacher it was not hard to seek out those that would share ideas, tips and practices.  Some great educators took time out of their lives to pour into mine, like the time Susan S. stayed after school for hours helping me make a shower-curtain map of the U.S. for my observation the next day.  Or the many hours Jenny and Elizabeth listened to me cry and offered encouragement.  How could I forget how Susie taught me the value of exercise in dealing with stress?  I tried to do the same with others and pay it forward.  

In reporting, I have had many people just as willing to help me, thankfully!  I credit the knowledge of Tilly, Chip, Hope, O.J., Kelly and Leigh at The Times.  I even had some friends that were already in the business that answered questions electronically, and Maryann and Brenda at The News.  All of these experiences, as well as trial and error, were essential to any success I may have had or will have in newspapers.  

That’s how you do what you don’t know how to do!  Have a “can do” attitude and find someone willing to help teach you.

Now it’s time for another job that I’ve said “Certainly, I can!’’ to — adjunct faculty at a community college!  This is not a full-time career for me, nor do I ever envision it to be, but it hopefully will help fill a void  — a love of learning and teaching.  

So, once again, I’m in uncharted territory.  It has caused me to pray more, study more, and rely more on others. Right now the one I’m relying heavily on is the assistant professor of the English department, who has already proven she is willing and available to help.  

What uncharted territory is awaiting in your life?  Is something nagging at you to go do, but you have no formal training or experience in?  Maybe you should look around for others willing to help, offer advice or their knowledge.  Many times we have not because we ask not.  (James 4:2).  

What’s the worst that can happen?  You get a “no”.  

What’s the best that can happen?  You get an enriching experience!

“Some trust in chariots, and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm 20:7

Some trust in education, and some trust in knowledge, but I trust in the name of the Lord my God.

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