Omph! It hits you in the stomach. You screwed up. You royally screwed up. Now you’ve done it. Your whole career and business is going to tank as a result of this. You may as well throw in the towel, crawl under a log, start rationing the food in your pantry; you’ll be out on the street…
Many professionals spend much of their time and energy avoiding mistakes so that they’ll never go through this inner dialogue. The fear of making a mistake pops up all the time, everywhere. It’s why you criticize yourself if you send your email without the attachment. It’s why you get nervous before introducing yourself and giving your ‘elevator’ speech. And, unfortunately, it’s why many professionals are hiding out from their next level of success. Because, if they ventured into uncharted territory, they might blow it!
You may think that the fear of making a mistake improves the quality of the work you do. If you’re afraid of botching something, you’ll make sure it’s perfect, right? Well, it doesn’t work that way. Aiming for high quality may be a virtue but when it stems out of a fear of making a mistake, it can cripple your success.
The most successful people in the world know that the degree to which you’re successful is directly related to your willingness to make mistakes. Simply put, “Failure is the tuition you pay for success.” -Walter Brunell
So let’s take this one step further. If mistakes are a necessary part of success, then is it possible that your kindergarten teacher was right? There really is no such thing as a mistake?
“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.” Richard Bach
Eureka! It’s true. There are no mistakes! I see that this is 100% true of my experience watching my clients’ and my own business grow.
The more that my business grows, the more mistakes I seem to make. The more mistakes I make, the more that I find out what I need to learn to make it better. The more I make it better the more it grows. The more it grows, the more mistakes I make and the cycle continues.
I recently ran into a client of mine who had participated in the Discover your Genius program. She shared that she’s waiting until she’s “got it right” before she launches her new business venture. She wants to have it perfectly packaged, fully-formed and pristine before she brings it to the world. I gently suggested she may be cheating herself by wanting to get it right. I encouraged her to jump in the pool and make some mistakes.
Do you want success? If you do, I encourage you to adopt this as your mantra: “I commit to seeing my life as free from mistakes. I commit to learning.”
Karen McMullen guides professionals who feel drained to tap into their innate brilliance, work less and make more money. She lives in Victoria and speaks throughout North America.