When we are young and inexperienced in many of the ways of the world, our parents, older siblings, grandparents, coaches, neighbors, and others older than us attempt to get us to do new things by suggesting that we “try” them. This is especially common with new foods – broccoli, liver, casseroles, and most anything that isn’t sweet or a snack.
Most of us don’t start out in life with inherent athletic skills – some do, but most of us don’t. We are told to try to ride the bike, try to catch the call, try to make contact with the ball, try to get the ball to go through the hoop, or try to get the ball or puck into the net. It doesn’t matter that we’ve never done it before or that we lack the requisite form. We are just encouraged to try. From that point, some of us will keep trying until we like it well enough to want to practice to be able to eventually do it well, and some of us will walk away with the declaration that we tried (and it didn’t work or we weren’t any good at it).
Playing a musical instrument, tying our shoes, drawing a circle, playing a card or board game, using the computer, learning apps on our smartphones, baking cookies, or writing a resume – regardless of what age this happened – required a first time. Before we ever sat behind the wheel of a car with our learner’s permit, we wanted to try driving, but we didn’t know if we’d be any good or hard easy or difficult it might be.
With all of these activities, there was no serious penalty for just trying. We gave it a shot. If it didn’t work, if we only gave it a half-hearted effort (not expecting to like it or for it to work anyway), or if we weren’t any good at it, at least we tried. This satisfied the adults who were encouraging us to at least try.
However, trying doesn’t always get us there. As children or adolescents, we can say we tried and then let it go at that if things didn’t work out, we didn’t like it, or we didn’t apply ourselves enough to even know if we were going to be any good at it or like it. Trying is a mentality or attitude that is preparing us for failure. It’s giving us a built-in excuse. We tried, It didn’t work. Oh well.
As a responsible adult, trying is just not good enough for most things. Getting it done is.
If we want to open a jar of pickles and we only try to do it, we may not succeed. What do we do? Go without them, eat something else, or work harder and actually get the lid off? Assuming the lid will really come off (in this example), we won’t be successful until we get it open. It takes more than trying. It takes doing – doing what it takes to get the job done. Sometimes, that even allows for us to request help to get it done although we want to be able to do what we can on our own.
When it’s important enough to us that we would take the time to attempt something, we shouldn’t settle for just trying without finishing the task.
That brings us to aging in place solutions. When we are invited into our clients’ homes, they need for us to create something that will solve or address their needs. They don’t want to hear us tell them that we aren’t sure if something will work but that we’ll try it to see what happens. They want us to be self-assured and confident to the point that we can tell them if something is not a good idea, if there’s a better approach for what they want, or that what we are recommending has been successful in other situations like theirs.
There is no time or room for on the job training or experimenting. We need to be well-versed in what can work and what is better left unattempted to accomplish the treatments they need. We are the professionals – collectively – when we approach a need our clients have. It might be a contractor, OT or PT, interior designer, architect, and many other specialties working in concert to get the job done, but we absolutely don’t want to tell the client that we’re going to try something to see how it might work or that we’ve never done anything like this previously. We can be creative in the type of solutions we suggest and how we approach the project, but once we’ve talked out what they need and want and considered various possibilities, it’s time to get the job done with confidence.