When Was the Last Time You Did Something New?

When my eldest son got his first job and began to make money, he opened up a bank account. Then he asked me how to write out a check.

He owed me money, so this was one skill I wanted him to get right!

“You put the date up here on this line,” I said. “Then where it says ‘Pay to the Order Of’ you write my name.”

So he wrote it up, ripped it out and handed it to me.

And on the “Pay to the Order Of” line he had written…



Of course, then he had to cross that out and write my REAL name.

You should have seen the look the bank teller gave me when I went to cash it.

I can’t remember the first time I wrote a check. It’s now such a normal activity, I don’t even think twice about it. (Unless there’s no money in the account.)

I do remember the last time I did something for the very first time, however.

I was nervous. I worried about how I’d feel if I failed. I didn’t want to look stupid in front of my friends.

How about you?

When we ask someone to do something for the very first time, it’s tempting to expect them to get it quickly. Often we hurry them through the process and “fill in the empty spaces” for them. Because it’s a no-brainer for us, we expect it to be easy for them.

Here are five things to remember next time you ask someone to change:

1. Do they know how? You’ve given them the “what to do”, but do they also know the “how to do it”? You may have to spell it out. Not everyone has the confidence to risk failure and it could keep them from trying.

2. Don’t expect them to go from 0 to 100. Sometimes we expect them to reach the goal in one giant leap. Most of us learn new things in increments, one step at a time. Define degrees of success.

3. Expect a relapse. Everyone stumbles and reverts back to a “safe zone” of what’s comfortable and habitual. Don’t give up on them just because they have a setback.

4. Recognize and reward. They’re not all the way there just yet, but find ways to celebrate forward movement. We all need encouragement along the way.

5. Ask for a self-assessment. You may have ideas about how well they’re doing, but be sure to ask them for an update. Let them tell you how they feel about their progress. Ask them to quantify it on a scale from 1 to 10.

My son now writes checks like a big dog! He’s graduated from college, bought a house, holds down a job and takes good care of his wife and son.

But he still calls me “Mom”!