4 min read

I Am Not Qualified

I Am Not Qualified

And I never will be.

Woah, what do you mean?

Isn't that a negative thing to be saying? Aren't we supposed to be positive and forward-thinking? Isn't this self-sabotage?

At first glance, you might think this type of attitude is unhelpful.

But let me show you why it's beautiful.

Shoutout to Alyssa, Eli, Drew, and Emma for reading. I hope you guys are never qualified! But seek to blow post all qualifications.

I've never been qualified for anything...

Let me be transparent with you. I've never once been qualified for anything. I bet the same is true for you too.

I was never qualified to be captain of my basketball team in high school – but I did it anyways.

I was not qualified to start a volunteer organization – but I still went for it.

I was not qualified to join my first startup – but somehow still made it in.

I was not qualified to start my side projects – but it still happened.

What are some things that you aren't qualified for but are still doing?

At each point in this journey, I was absolutely out of my depth. I didn't know the first thing about anything. But funnily enough, I still made it through, it never killed me.

Now, I did almost die, metaphorically, on countless occasions, but it was never enough to kill me off for good. And the part of me that did die was the part of me that was scared to change.

I was never qualified but was always capable.

This was a significant insight that I have learned.

I may not have been the best person for the job, but I was capable (brave) enough to try.

I was capable enough to make mistakes.

Learn from them.

And try again.

What I can do is not what this paper says I can do.

Honestly, you shouldn't be qualified.

If you are, then you're in the WRONG place. You aren't challenging yourself enough.

Lots of growth happens when you're scared shitless. When you have to reach inside yourself and forcefully put an end to the horde of negative thoughts that are begging you not to change. Begging you to stop.

that is supposed to be a bullet.

But if you can ignore that impulse, something beautiful happens. You grow. You get better.

You'd be surprised how far you can get when chasing after things you aren't qualified for.

Qualifications kill growth

I have spoken to people who were too scared to start their own businesses. I bet you can guess the reason why.

They felt like they weren't qualified.

"Who am I to be able to run a successful business."

"I don't know enough."

"I am not smart enough; I don't know where to start."

Implicit in all these statements is a thought process that's out of control. We're letting negative self-talk get in the way of doing something GOOD for ourselves.

Here is a quick exercise in taming this thinking:

Ask your mind for "proof" whenever it tries to impose limitations on you. Listen for what your mind says next.

Evaluate if the "proof" is valid or just a perception.

Qualifications are excuses

I've also interacted with people who thought that they were TOO qualified. They decided that they knew more than enough and could take their foot off the gas pedal.

Those people stalled out. Burned out. And plateaued.

They used their qualifications as an excuse NOT to continue working. As an excuse to stop exploring and being curious.

Promise me you'll never do this.

A Beginners Mind – Leave Qualifications Behind

Everything that I have spoken about goes back to this idea of having a beginner's mind. You are not an expert. And that is entirely okay. Come into whatever you do with a fresh and open mind.

Remember, you don't know what you don't know. And so we can't make the mistake of pretending to know more than we do. But we also can't limit ourselves.

We can't let NOT KNOWING be the reason why we don't start. You have to figure stuff out anyways, so just start with the things that are just slightly out of your reach.

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki

A Challenge

I challenge you to take the first step towards that thing you thought you weren't qualified to do. Apply for the job that you think you aren't eligible for. Start that business. Ask that person out. Just do it.

Fun fact: you'll never be fully qualified. so just start now.

So just start now!

with love,