If you’re looking for an expert, someone who lives the perfect life, let me kindly inform you that you’re in the wrong place.
If you’re looking for a guru, someone who can prescribe for you the most excellent path, allow me to direct you elsewhere.
If you’re looking for an exemplary role model, an example of what to do in every situation, don’t let me waste your time.
I fall short half the time. And that’s if I’m lucky.
I struggle with fear. It paralyzes me. Sometimes I dare enough to take a first step, remembering that the fear tells me I’m on the right track. But usually, I hide away. For every time I do something brave and courageous, there are countless other times I do nothing.
My business is a lesson in what not to do. That I’ve managed to make enough money so far is a mystery to me. I’m not good at marketing. I struggle to bring in new work.
I’m not good at reaching out to people. And until a few months ago, despite all that I’ve written and reflected on about the importance of not going alone, I tried to do everything myself. I thought I’d figure it out eventually.
I don’t know how to deal with the tension between poverty and wealth. Yes, sometimes I build up the courage to say hello or to stop and learn the story of someone who is poor. But most often, I rush by with a hurried, “Not today.” I ignore their cries for help.
There are many better examples to follow than mine.
It’s easy to feel bad about faults and shortcomings — and I often do. But our greatest weaknesses can become our greatest gifts.
My struggles reveal the gaps in my knowledge. They show me what I need to work on — what I need to learn. What often counts most is not how much we know, but that are we aware of what we don’t know.
My mistakes open the door to exploration and experimentation — inviting me to ask questions, read, and learn. They test my assumptions. They give an opportunity to practice.
Each weakness creates an opportunity for connection. I can ask for the help and guidance of other people. And in receiving, relationships strengthen.
But most of all, my shortcomings give me a chance to help others. I can share what I learn.
Three years ago, I started writing – recording my experiences and reflecting on them. I didn’t think my stories were anything special. And I certainly didn’t think anyone would find them useful.
But people left comments. They sent me emails. They mentioned my writing to me in conversation. For a while, I ignored their praise. “I don’t know anything.” I said to myself.
Over time, I’ve come to realize that this is precisely what makes my writing worthwhile.
We all have similar struggles. Yet the experts can appear too many steps ahead. We can’t relate to them. Most often, we’re searching for people just like us — people whose stories we can understand.
By revealing my missteps and errors, I allow others to relate and connect with me. By sharing my process of learning, I offer people insight into their challenges.
You can do the same.
Embrace what you do not know. Your shortcomings give you opportunities. They open you to learning and growth. They let you be vulnerable and speak truth to those who walk a similar path.
I still don’t have all the answers. I’m still making mistakes and stumbling. I’m still searching and exploring.
But if you decide to stick around, maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn something together.