Train Your Left Hand

[Disclaimer: If your dominant hand is your left hand, please consider that this was written in my point of view. The “left hand” would be the right hand in your case. Thank you for reading.] 

If you have been following my blogs, you should know by now that most of my ideas are birthed from random thoughts that pop into my head. I was mopping the floor the other day, and my arm was getting tired as I made continuous back and forth movements. I started to wonder why I continued to use my right hand (dominant hand) when it was clearly being subjugated to the punishment of doing all the work. Here my left hand is just dangling to my side doing nothing at all but watching my right hand struggle. And then, I finally remembered the word I was looking for to describe what I wanted to be in this very moment… Ambidextrous. This is a person who uses both their left and right hands equally well. A person who has the option to give their dominant hand a break and substitute the other at any time. As I continued to mop, I got increasingly frustrated by the fact that I let my left hand get away with this for so long. In fact, I switched hands and allowed my left hand to mop the rest of the way. After the initial awkwardness, it became easier to mop with my left hand, and although I probably will go back to using my dominant hand the majority of the time, it felt good to have options. Funny enough, using your left hand to give things to your parents in a Ghanian home is seen as a taboo and a sign of disrespect. However, in this blog, I am moreso referencing your metaphorical left hand and how much we ignore its power. When you use your left hand, or open yourself up to work on things you are not typically comfortable with, you introduce your world to a slew of opportunities.  

Unfortunately, none of us are exceptional at everything. Even when you find the things you are good at, there may still be work involved that is outside of your strengths. I met someone who owned their own fitness company, and they enjoyed working out and instructing, but absolutely hated having to maintain their social media presence or respond to potential clients. Your dominant hand represents the things you are obviously great at. We usually jump at the opportunity to flex those skills because we are much more likely to shine. However, when it comes to our other hand, we tend to shy away from ever really using it. I want to encourage you to use your left hand even if you have neglected it in the past. Your “left hand” represents the things you are not too fond of doing because they are boring, difficult, or unbearable. Maybe you do not trust yourself to fully handle tasks in those areas, but a lot of times we miss a moment to actually try something new.  

Think of some of your “left hand” weaknesses. In my fitness instructor example, his was managing his company’s social media page and communicating effectively. This is something that needs to get done for him to run his business, but he keeps dropping the ball because it is not something he is dominant in. I have created a list of things to consider when you decide to use or train your left hand and notes you can utilize as you go through the process.  

  1. Think of all the things you hate/extremely dislike or struggle with. 
    • This should be the easiest point out of the three. Simply write down all the things you rather not do on to a sheet of paper. For the purposes of being realistic, try to dig deep and only write down the things that are relevant to your current course in life. If you are a student, you may write down: writing essays, eating healthy, or focusing on the task at hand. If you are a parent, you may write down: changing diapers, tutoring math, or taking the kids to school. Everyone’s list is supposed to be different, but the purpose is to bring these items into your conscious. This will make the next point simpler. 

  2. Assess the profitability. 
    • When you are prioritizing any list, you should always assess profitability (and if it is not a money move, replace profitability with benefits). How important is this item to what you are trying to build or accomplish? In business, it is called a cost-benefit analysis, but at the end of this exercise, you should be able to identify what you should be focusing your energy on improving based on what it will cost you. 

  3. Delegate.
    • Now that you have determined your focal points, you must begin to delegate. Delegating is the act of assigning tasks to reach a common goal. These tasks do not only have to be to assigned to other people; they can also be for you. When you make the decision to use or train your left hand, you are recognizing that this is not your strong-suit, but not letting that stop you. Let’s say you are a parent that does not like changing diapers. Think deeper as to why you do not want to do it. Is it because you don’t know how? If so, you should assign yourself with the task of researching YouTube tutorials or asking your partner to show you. Some of your items may be actual things you are not capable of doing, and in this case, delegate by finding other resources or experts that can do it on your behalf. Yes, outsource! It is something that is okay to do if you have the extra capital to invest. My advice is to be cautious against outsourcing just because things feel difficult. Train your left hand by learning how to do things you are not comfortable with. Using a muscle more often makes it stronger, and the same applies to any skills you may be lacking in.  

Most times, there are no excuses as to why something in your personal or business life is not getting done. Just like when I was mopping, my left hand had always been ready and available for use, but because I was not comfortable using it, I opted on putting the work on my right hand. When we learn to identify our “left hand” skills, friends, and resources, we will learn to use or train them to help us grow. For this week’s challenge, identify three “left hand” tasks you may have, and create a plan of action on how you are going to work on them in the month of November. Let’s dedicate the month of November to stepping out of our comfort zones and taking the wins and the losses as points of improvement.