I’ve Never Done This Before

I’ve never done this before are words we utter far too often. We feed ourselves the lie that we can’t accomplish something because we’ve never attempted it before.

We put dreams on hold. We stop challenging ourselves. We begin living complacent lives.

All because of 5 words we’ve given power over our lives.

Lock on door

Image by Wetsun

The Lie

When we begin telling ourselves we’ve never done something before, it begins to limit our potential. The lie tells us we’re inexperienced. Not needed. Or it’s too dangerous for us.

Instead of using I’ve never done this before as a reason to experience new adventures in life, we use it as a crutch to avoid the attempt. And possibility of failure.

It’s really an excuse to cover our fears.

“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.”
— Dan Brown

The lie allows us to continue living complacent lives instead of dreaming big and doing good.

Listening to it is like stopping at green lights.

Overcoming The Lie

Giving into this excuse is a barrier leaders must overcome. As a leader, you’re called to experience new challenges, to go into the unknown, and to face life head on.

I’ve used this excuse before. Especially when it comes to photo editing. It’s not something I like doing and it’s something I haven’t hadn’t done before.

That was until one day a co-worker’s wife approached me when she needed help with their son’s senior picture. The picture was great except his eyes weren’t in the right position. She asked me to correct the picture.

I was hesitant as I’d never done that before. Instead of letting it hold me back, I hopped in and tackled the project using Gimp, a Photoshop alternative.

I overcame the lie by doing the thing I’ve never done before. It taught me I can still learn new skills.

And you can too.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

To overcome the I’ve never done this before syndrome, you’ve got to get out there and do the task. Then the excuse loses all power. You’ve done it before and you can do it again.

What is it you need to do to be a better leader? Is it

Whatever it is, I encourage you to take the first steps today. Head towards the thing you’ve never done before. Tell yourself you’re going to do it. Then do it.

Take the power away from those 5 words. Before you know it you’ll be doing things you’ve never done before.

Question: What have you never done before that you need to do? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. And then get out there and do what you’ve never done before.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I agree that the “I’ve never done this before” comment is a lie.  I never wrote a book before I actually did.  However, there may be times when saying “I’ve never done this before” is a wise choice, too, keeping ourselves from doing something wrong, dumb, or without adequate knowledge.

    • True Dan. There are some dumb things that can be done. However, if we’re wise we can normally spot them before we jump into a project.

  • Such a great reminder! I definitely used to use that line as an excuse. Now I use it as a way to start an adventure!

    • Good job Tammy. We tend to go on more adventures when we’re able to get over this saying. What adventures have you been on?

      • Last year, my workout friends talking me into signing up for the Warrior Dash. My first excuse was “I have never done anything like that before!” But I signed up. I loved it, and it led to me doing five other 5Ks last year. I had never done any (other than walking) before. That was a great example of an adventure for me!

  • I recently moved outside of my comfort zone to join Toastmasters. It’s been a wonderful experience and I’m glad I did it. Great post and thoughts Joe!

    • Awesome Dan! Have you begun to see results from the sessions yet?

      • It had been a while since I have communicated to an audience and my first Toastmasters speech really boosted my confidence. It is also sharpening my communication skills. Have you thought about attending yet? 

        • I’m still thinking about it but haven’t started attending yet. The problem has been finding a local chapter with a time that works for me.

          • I totally understand. I luckily found one that meets on Monday evening every other week. Which works well for me. Let me know when you find one and how you like it.

    • Toastmasters is a great organization, they helped me also.

      •  How long did you attend Toastmasters Tom?

        • For about a year when I worked in Chicago. It is a little unnerving since you can get put on the spot pretty easy – but it was a very encouraging group. That is the place to make your mistakes!

          •  That’s great Tom. Actually the people needed a role(Ah counter) to be filled at last minute so I volunteered and even though it was on the spot I really enjoyed it.

  • Good post. I believe that for some of us with chronic confidence issues, we often view the new challenge through dirty rose colored, backward looking glasses and say to ourselves say “well I remember when I did “_____”, I crashed and burned”. Then those 5 words become the 12 words “I can’t do that because of what happened when I did “_____””

    Believe me, I’m not intending to make excuses for myself, I’m really just trying to “flesh” this out because I’ve used those 5 words far too often and for way too long.

    Why does it seem that others can pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move forward so much easier than others? …..

    Or maybe that’s just an illusion …

    • That is a great observation David. I can see how the struggles and failures of our past can cloud the possibility of our future. We’ve been taught to use the past as a guide.

      I don’t think others get up and dust themselves off easier than others. It’s that they’ve had more practice at it. They’ve had their failures. They’ve struggled with overcoming it. Then they moved forward. Do it enough times and it starts to look easy from the outside.

  • I prayed last year that God would give me a word to guide me through 2013. He gave me the word Dependence. I’m glad He gave me a heads up because this year is HARD! I am just beginning to learn what depending on God really means.  It’s bringing me to my knees and letting my heart sore as I learn to wait upon the Lord. He is the one renewing my strength!
    In the past I thought I had depended upon God, but He is showing me how much further I need to grow in Him.

    •  Wow, that can be a tough word for the year TC. However, if He gave it to you, He’s faithful to see you through it. I think He’ll be showing you some amazing things as you do things you’ve never done before and depend on others like you’ve never done.

      • It is a tough word. I wasn’t “thrilled” to receive it, but it’s from God so it’s beautiful and exactly what I need. Growth isn’t necessarily pleasant, but if we are trained by it, it’s worth the process.
        This is something I’ve never done before….thank God I’m not doing it alone!

  • Great post Joe! I’ve said this way too many times in my life. I’m glad I said yes when it counted! 

    • Thanks Kimanzi! I’m glad you have too. Seeing you shine in your element has been amazing and inspiring. Keep moving forward!

  • It’s amazing how easy I’ve Never Done It Before becomes I Can Do It, huh? There’s still resistance but you’re able to see the possibilities more clearly and quickly.

  • Great quote – I need to try to do something everyday that scares me.  That is the only thing that has ever helped me make big progress – doing something scary!

    • So what scary thing can you do today?

      • Submit a guest post on a blog that is a little out of my league…

        • Did you do it?

          • Working on it! I need to step it up a notch…goal is to have sent by end of this weekend. At least the blogger solicited the post from me first, so that hurdle isn’t a problem. His post quality is really high, so need to pull out all the stops.

            • That’s awesome. It’s great having an invitation to create a guest post. You’ll have to let us know when your post is accepted and goes live.

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