Doing it on your own is smart until it’s stupid.

Austin L. Church
3 min readFeb 22, 2020

My middle kid Theo’s catchphrase of late is “I can do it myself.”

I LOVE this boy… his strong will, his humor, his sensitivity.

He is a joy. He spreads light wherever he goes.

He talks to strangers — we probably need to work on that? — and he brightens their day.

There was Charles at Sam’s Club on Saturday.

George at the grocery store.

The mother-daughter team working the counter at Buck’N Good Donuts. (Yes, that is the real name.)

My boy makes my heart hurt with love and pride.

Meanwhile, his particular strain of stubbornness drives me…


Theo’s tenacity will serve him well later in life, but right now, it adds friction and struggle to simple, everyday things like finishing his dinner or picking a pair of socks.

“I can do it myself” is admirable right up to the point where it is short-sighted and ineffective.

I’m talking about us adults now, not my four-year-old.

You see, we know better!

We can figure out many things on our own. We don’t need help pouring grape juice.

And once we decide to experiment with LinkedIn prospecting, we can go read 20 blog posts, formulate a plan, and implement it.

Yet, how many times have I slowed by own progress with a calcified belief that I must do it on my own?

Are you guilty of this?

Yes, some skills and competencies we must learn by doing.

However, in my experience, most big breakthroughs and leaps forward come from having a coach, mentor, or expert who said, “Don’t do it like that. Do it like this instead.”

If you have ever worked with a personal trainer, you know what I’m talking about.

“If you do a heavy squat like that, you will hurt your knees. Let me show you what to do instead”

I have worked with the same leadership coach off and on. Daniel once gave me a tool to help me have more productive (and less frustrating) conversations with my business partner.



Austin L. Church

Writer, Brand Consultant, Freelance Coach | I teach freelancers how to stack up specific advantages for more income, free time, fun 🌴