Finding the Right Tools

img385I recently learned how to use an air compressor and nail gun. It will take some time, though, for my confidence and comfort level to rise where I don’t wonder if I’m going to nail my foot to the floor or make the air tank explode.

I’m only exaggerating a little bit when I say using these tools have changed my life.

I’m no stranger to home renovation. I’ve painted, laid flooring, installed tile and cabinets, and some other stuff, too. Mostly cosmetic, but still. The one thing, though, that I have avoided doing is nailing anything. I usually end up hitting the wall or my thumb more than the nail and when I do hit the nail it’s usually at a bad angle and it bends.

Yeah, frustrating to say the least.

So, like any red-blooded human I simply avoided projects that would have required me to use a hammer and nails. Can I tell you how stupid that is? For those of you who are not hammer and nail challenged I’m sure I don’t have to, but damn.

Now, though, this little, bitty air compressor has opened up a whole new world for me. I will no longer have to live with 60-year-old base boards in my house just because nailing in new ones would have been too much of a hassle and looked much worse than what was there. I’m sure there are many more projects I will be able to do now but I just can’t think of them.

Baby steps, you know…

It was while I was finally installing the toe kick under my kitchen cabinets and baseboard around the room that I understood the importance of identifying the right tools for the job. Sure I could have installed everything manually, but I procrastinated because I knew I would do a sub par job and wouldn’t be happy with the result.

Not having the right tools held me back. It kept me from learning skills that would propel me to the next level. It made me question my abilities and think that I would never complete another home renovation project again.

Kind of like a big snowball of self-doubt…

Then of course I started thinking about other kinds of tools we can have at our disposal. Tools for dealing with difficult people. Tools for self-awareness. Tools for healing past hurts. Tools for becoming the most confident, authentic people we can be. Tools for becoming whole.

I would venture a guess that most of us aren’t even aware that such tools exist. Which is odd considering how lucrative the self-help industry is now. But like the tools we use to fix our houses or cars, not all are created equal. Some are just a bunch of junk that will break in our hands when we try to use them.

Or they’re just not the right tool for what we’re trying to improve…

That’s why there is no one way to a better, more awesome, confident you. You and I – each of us – have to find the tool that’s right for us at that moment. I know I wasn’t ready for an air compressor and nail gun before now. I knew I needed them, but I just didn’t have the courage to try.

Just like I wasn’t ready to read about stoicism until recently. I had such a bad impression of it that I would have never appreciated before now. None of it would have helped.

But the good news is that the tools we need aren’t going anywhere. They’ll be there when we’re ready to find them. When we’re ready to set aside fear and doubt. When we can take the steps to become the most awesome, confident people we’re supposed to be.



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