The “I’m not Good Enough Duck”

By Tammy McLennan PCC, Associate Coach

Firstly, I would like to thank Marj for sharing her “Shut the Duck Up” story recently. As I read it, I was reminded of a recent experience I had with one of my (many) personal ducks.

Recently, I took my very first art class! I’m not going to lie, I was feeling very afraid and a little bit vulnerable…ok a lot vulnerable. Our teacher gave us a picture of trees and a landscape and asked us to replicate it.

I tried valiantly to paint my first tree, but despite my best efforts, I felt I had failed miserably…my tree didn’t look anything like the teacher’s trees.

Luckily I wasn’t alone. My fellow classmates shared the same struggles of applying the basic strokes and techniques of painting something as simple as a tree. The debrief after a few lessons was even more disheartening for all of us. Our trees simply didn’t measure up to the quality example our instructor had given us.

A Little Different Perspective

In striking contrast, the same instructor was teaching the same techniques to my sons at their elementary school. When they came home from school, they were both so excited to show off their beautiful paintings. One of my sons was even more proud to show me the eagle he had added without any assistance from his teacher!

To add to the contrast, their classmates were equally excited by the quality and beauty of their trees as well.

The Difference in Perspective

So what happened to our self belief story we had as children? How can my 9 and 11-year-old sons have such incredible satisfaction with their first attempts at painting the trees when I found the same task so difficult and frustrating?

The difference is mindset.

I truly believed that I was a failure when my first attempt didn’t come out as perfect and as beautiful as my teacher’s example. I felt too discouraged to even attempt a second version. But this belief was not serving my learning, it was actually holding me back.

Seeing my sons so excited to share their first attempt story encouraged me to go back and try again. Thanks to their inspiring example, I’m going to give that duck a new story to tell.

About the Author
Tammy McLennan CEC, PCC an Associate Coach Essential Impact. With 20 years of coaching experience, Tammy brings customized leadership development design and over 1,700 hours of executive and team coaching to organizations who want to grow and expand as a leaders.

2017-08-21T14:24:09-07:00July 20th, 2017|