Not all of us have a natural aptitude to do the job we passionately want to do.
We can doubt we’ve made the right choice when a particular skill doesn’t come easily to us, but do we just give up and concede ‘If I can’t bend copper pipe, I can’t be a plumber?’
No. It takes practice to attain certain skills in a trade and a good dose of patience and resilience to finally master a skill.
Plumbing or any type of trade work does not come naturally to me. But I tried to keep my focus on why I was doing my apprenticeship in the first place.
Often, the moment a stress or hardship presents itself on our journey to becoming a tradesperson, we can be tempted to write ourselves off as no good, and we shouldn’t have started in the first place.
That’s just negative talk going on in our head. No one is born a natural plumber, electrician, builder, tiler, carpenter – whatever trade we choose to do. Just because we love to do something, doesn’t mean we’re going to be any good at it.
What happens though when the table is turned and it’s our TAFE teacher, a colleague or our employer telling us we’re no good? That can hurt. I know what that’s like because it happened to me.
For me, the words hurt because I’m naturally a competitive person and have always been used to being classed as a top worker both at school, business college and in my previous jobs. Being told I wasn’t up to par with the other apprentices was a good hit to my pride. But you can’t go any lower than the bottom of the class and it gave me a fighting spirit to finish the apprenticeship and try to do better at each stage. You can imagine my surprise when a TAFE teacher rang my mum to say he was nominating me for an award. I honestly thought the teacher was joking.
Michael Jordan is a great example of someone who was told they were no good yet became successful. In high school, Jordan was cut from the high school basketball team. When the list of who made the team was put up, and Jordan couldn’t find his name, he went home, shut his door and cried.
But the disappointment gave Jordan resilience to try again. Michael told the Chicago Tribune, “It was good because it made me know what disappointment felt like,” he said. “And I knew that I didn`t want to have that feeling ever again.”
We all know that Michael Jordan went on to be a well-known, successful, professional basketball player.
If, like Jordan and myself, you get told you’re not good enough, take the hit, have a cry and then build yourself up to try again. Remember why you decided to choose a trade career in the first place and always remind yourself of your why.
It won’t be easy. Working towards your desired job is never a straight road. Each miss will give you an opportunity to try differently and that resilience will build your character.