If you want to break through self-imposed barriers, ditch the “I can’t” statements. Instead, find people who possess the skills you think you lack.
Say you admire a colleague who’s a dynamic speaker. Take her to lunch and ask, “How do you stay so comfortable when giving presentations? I get so nervous.”
It may take a few follow-up questions to generate the most useful information. Bashful or modest individuals might deflect attention away from themselves by insisting that you’re not giving yourself enough credit.
Show friendly persistence. Ask questions such as, “What kind of training did you have?” or “What’s the best advice you ever got?”
Your eagerness to extract insights from people you admire affords a double victory: You strengthen your relationships with your peers and you gain valuable knowledge that you can apply to sharpen your skills.