The conversation started in the cutest coffee shop, as the best conversations often do. My friend and I commiserated over colleagues who need to have all the answers spelled out for them. You know, the people who would rather type an email than type a question into Google.
“There was one thing my mom did growing up that I’ll always be grateful for,” my friend mused. “Whenever I wondered how to spell a word, she helped me sound it out just enough so that I could look it up in the dictionary.”
And I laughed because my mom did the exact same thing during my childhood. I used to hate not being given the answer. Looking up a word probably took less than five minutes, but it felt like the biggest waste of time I’d ever experienced in my short life. Now I cherish the lessons learned flipping through the dictionary.
My mom showed me that I knew enough to sound out a word, find it in the dictionary, and learn how to spell it. Knowing it all wasn’t a requirement. Knowing where to start was.
When I’m faced with a task that feels as daunting as spelling neighbor once felt, I turn to one of a few places:
- Google: The Internet connects you to billions of other people. Chances are one of them knows how to accomplish the task at hand. They’ve probably recorded a video about it too.
- My network: I surround myself with people who are smarter than me in different areas, and I’m never afraid to reach out and ask. Who doesn’t feel great about being seen as an expert?
- A book: Nine year old me filled her arms with books at the library, 24-year old me continues to be a regular patron. Times are changing quickly, but there are a host of timeless books that will support your learning and development.
So, how do you spell success? I’ll let you figure that one out yourself.