Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"What Do We Really Mean When We Say That We Will 'Try'?"

Throughout life, we have been encouraged to try different things - to attempt them - by parents, teachers, coaches, neighbors, older siblings, or friends. Essentially anyone older than us who thought we should experience something new urged us to try it. It didn't matter whether we succeeded, we just needed to make an effort. Is it any wonder then that so many people have a "try" mentality rather a "can do" paradigm?

As young children, our parents would place a new food in front of us that we had never eaten before - or one prepared in a different way from we were used to having. We were to just at least try it. Often we had already made up our minds to not like it before even placing it in our mouths. We "tried" it, didn't like it, end of story - until the next time an unfamiliar food came along.

We tried walking, dressing ourselves, running, riding a bike, throwing a ball, and a few other activities that took more than one attempt before getting the hang of it well enough to keep doing it. In school, our teachers asked us to try or make an attempt when faced with a word we couldn't pronounce, a sentence we couldn't read, a math problem we couldn't solve, or a state capital we couldn't remember. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes we felt embarrassed. Sometimes others noticed the difficulty we were having so our eagerness to try the next time was tempered.

As we have gone through life, we have faced many challenges - some more difficult than others and some more important than others. We told ourselves that we try to do a good job, we would try to get the interview, we would try to make the sale, we would try to met someone we felt could help us, we would try to buy that first home, we would try to get financing, we would try to lose weight, we would try to make a team, we would try to get someone to like us, we would try to start a business, and more.

Essentially what we were doing by approaching a situation with an "I'll try" mindset is giving ourselves permission to fail. We created a way out. We tried it, we weren't successful, but we made a stab at it.

How different it would be if we forgot about trying and focused on doing and accomplishing. Notice the Nike slogan isn't "Just try it" or "Just make an attempt." It's "Just do it" - the opposite of trying.

Relating this to our aging in place businesses, do we strive to create a business that will be viable, important, and  useful - one that will gain market acceptance? Or do we pour our energy into making it work without reservation or without a fallback position of what to do if or when it doesn't work. We have to be "all in." This is how we will make things happen.

Do our clients expect that we will just try to help them, or do they expect results once we say we can create them? We must figure how to make something work - even when there are struggles, potholes, and speed bumps - and not look for a way out. We have to start and run our business with the attitude that it has to work. We can't just try it for a little while and then go on to something else. This is not fair to marketplace, potential clients, or us and those who depend upon our support.

As for specific solutions that we create, we might mentally "try" or experiment with a few ideas to see which one seems to work best before settling on the solution to use. Once decided, however, we will make the one work that we decide upon and that the client approves. It might be Plan B (or even a later version), but we don't stop with just an attempt.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn