I have a friend who can’t type. She gets by, yes. And she’s turned “hunting and pecking” into an art form.
Personally, I think typing is the coolest skill ever. Sometimes when I’m typing away, this little character appears in my head and marvels at my brain machinery, at this complex finger dance that makes actual words come out on a page.
I shared this with my friend, and she looked sadly at her keypad. “No one ever told me to sign up for typing,” she said.
In fact, I owe my typing talent to the simple fact that I sucked at Calculus.
My senior year in high school, I entered Calculus with my friends. We’d all moved through three years of math classes together. It was time for a college-level class, and I wanted to impress people and be smart, like my big brother.
But Calculus nearly killed me. I wrestled with it. I got a tutor. I tried and tried some more.
My teacher wanted me to stay in Calculus. So did my parents. And my ego.
But I dropped out.
I enrolled in a class that was on the other side of my high school. Deep in the hallways where they taught stuff like woodworking, engine repair and home economics. Where the loud noises of saws and sewing machines wouldn’t bother the smart kids as they worked on logarithm equations.
There I entered the typing classroom, tail between my legs, a failure.
And I ended up learning how to do the thing that would ultimately become the source of much of my work and success:
Writing with technology.
My friend? The one who can’t type? She told me she suffered through Calculus only to get a D.
We both laughed.
I told her I dropped out of Calculus and took typing.
Then I asked no one in particular:
“Guess which one got me further in my life?”
Which brings me to the point.
Most of us approach our businesses the same way our parents wanted us to approach school:
Be good at everything.
Even some business authors waggle their fingers at their readers, listing all kinds of crap you’re supposed to get good at in order to consider yourself a competent business owner.
So friend, let me share a piece of success advice with you:
And this comes from someone who started two crazy successful businesses from scratch with no investors. (And one of those businesses was in the cut-throat entertainment world.)
Stop trying to get good at all the things you were born to suck at.
This isn’t to say you won’t have to develop new skills as you build your business. You will.
But there will come a point when – in order to grow any more – you will have to drop out of Calculus. You will have to hand over something that feels utterly un-hand-over-able to you and your ego…
…the accounting, the books, the web design, the invoicing, the customer service, the late night emails from your clients, the one-on-one phone calls. It might even make you feel like you are giving up, or failing in some way.
Upleveling is more about what you say no to – what you stop doing – than it is about new things you start doing.
So, what do you need to drop out of so you can focus on the few areas where you’re a total rockstar?