Scrub “Can’t” From Your Vocabulary

Get Shit Done - Don't Say Can't

When faced with a new challenge, it’s easy to come up with reasons that you “can’t” do it. But GSD requires you put those reasons aside and figure out how to get it done.

Let’s say your project requires the use to a program you haven’t used before. Do you say you can’t use that program? Or do you figure it out and make it work? Odds are good you won’t need to be a power user right off the bat to accomplish what you need.

I moved to Los Angeles after college to pursue a career in filmmaking. To pay the bills I was happy to do pretty much anything. I did some work as a production assistant, volunteered on student films to gain experience, and looked for any opportunity to work, get experience, and make some money.

One day, my friend’s writing partner asked me if I’d done any editing. I had some experience editing the short films I’d directed, but nothing beyond that. But that counted, so I said yes, I had editing experience. I got a call the next day from a post-production house looking for editors. They asked if I was familiar with Final Cut Pro. I’d used it once or twice, but I was hardly an expert. They were pressed to find someone who could start working soon, so they said I could come in, try a project, and see how it worked out.

I immediately went to the nearest book store and bought Final Cut Pro for Dummies. I read it that night and went to work the next day. They sat me down in an editing bay, told me what I needed to do, and I got to work. I started slowly, and as I worked I got more comfortable with the system and my productivity increased. I used some of the tricks I’d seen in the book to make things look fancy, and by the end of the project they were very happy with the work I did. I continued doing freelance work for that company on and off for the next three years.

It didn’t matter that I wasn’t the strongest FCP user they could have found. What mattered was that I was willing to give it a shot and was confident that I could figure it out.

That’s not to say that you should blindly accept any opportunity regardless of skills and abilities. Once when I was job hunting I was asked about doing web design work that was clearly above my design skill. Sure, I’m familiar with Photoshop, but I knew I wasn’t the right person for the job in question.

In Los Angeles, I had enough familiarity with computer editing to know I could fake it until I made it. Accepting an opportunity that I was completely unprepared for would have been bad for the company hiring me, and it would have damaged my credibility. GSD requires that you know yourself, trust that you can figure things out, and aren’t afraid to try.

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