“D” minus 17!


I was in my junior year at East Troy High School, taking a class taught by Mr. Sternberg.  Mr. Sternberg’s name said it all, he was muscular, about average height, had a powerful voice, slightly bald and in the twilight of his career.  I liked Mr. Sternberg a lot.  The class was a college prep class called “Novel 101” and the book that we were reading was called “The Lord of the Flies”.   Mr. Sternberg was passing out the results from the test that we had taken on the book, when he paused and held up my test results.  He then proceeded to tell the class that in all his years of teaching, this paper contained some of the best content that he had ever read on the book.  I swelled with pride.  That was very short lived, because they next words out of his mouth were, “unfortunately the paper is full of grammatical errors and since grammar counts in my class, the final score is a D minus 17”.

To some of you that read my blog on a regular basis, the fact that I make grammatical mistakes is not news to you.  In fact, grammar may be one of my greatest weaknesses.  Its not that I don’t care, I do!  I use all the tools at my disposal, spell check, grammar checker, EVERYTHING! But I still make plenty of errors.

For years I have wanted to be a writer.  I find it very freeing to put my thoughts down onto paper and I love having the ability to go back and read my thoughts from days gone by.  Unfortunately, poor grammar has kept me from writing since that day in my junior year of high school.

Part of defeating mediocrity is to face your fears and do it anyway.  When I decided to start this blog, I was doing just that.  I knew going in that I was going to make mistakes.  I knew that some of you would be frustrated by my improper use of commas, quotes, fragmented and run on sentences.  But I also knew that in order to get better, I’d have to start writing anyway.

We all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses, goals and dreams.  Some of us want to run a marathon but have yet to run a mile.  Some of us want the job of our dreams but fear that we may lose it all if we make the leap.  Some of us want the freedom that a career in sales can provide but are afraid of presenting in front of a room.  Whatever fear you have, remember to face the fear and do it anyway.  Before you can become a master at anything you have to be a novice.  The only way the novice becomes the master is through doing, failing, learning and doing it again and again.

Regardless of what it is that you dream of doing, I challenge you to put your fears and excuses aside and consistently do it anyway.  Remember, before you could run, you had to walk, before you could walk you had to crawl.  You will fail and you will make mistakes in the process but if you (and I) don’t give up and keep looking for ways to get better, eventually we will reach our final destination.

Have a great day!

PS- IF anyone has the goal of becoming a grammatical error checker, I know the perfect guy that would love to connect with you! 😉



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