For achievers, the idea of making a mistake is absolutely terrifying and anxiety-inducing. Some even think that just a single one could end their entire career and lead them to a life of misery.
The good news is that it won’t.
The world won’t end if you make a mistake. You’ll wake up the next day with a business that’s still running. You’ll get back on your feet and carry on with life, because that’s just how it is.
I know I sound as though mistakes don’t matter in the long run. They do, very much so — just not in the way the world made you believe it.
At some point, these mistakes — big or small — were things that we believed would break us and cost us our jobs and opportunities, what with the shame and terrible impressions that came along with them. But the truth is, they only really break us if we let them. They break us if we dwell on them without a resolve to do better.
Mistakes help build us up. They make us stronger and more qualified to handle the harder challenges of your business, and what we experience in life too.
A mistake, in the general sense, is a decision or action you make that leads to a negative consequence. And because we don’t like the results of a mistake, we tend to avoid them at all cost.
And yet, whether through a bout of ignorance or through a decision we thought long and hard to make, we still end up making mistakes.
Yes, this applies to even the brightest scientists or the most respected doctors. It applies to the business tycoons we look up to, or the geniuses who can answer incomprehensibly complex maths problems in five seconds.
We all make mistakes because, simply put, no one is all-knowing. There will always be external factors in play in every decision we make. So even if we try our hardest to do things right, there are some things that are just completely out of our hands.
The most relevant example of this is the pandemic that we’re all battling through right now. Businesses have been shutting down, and many are struggling to keep theirs alive. We’re in the face of the deepest global recession we’ve had in decades.
Many entrepreneurs blame themselves for the misfortune these unexpected circumstances brought unto their businesses, but these are situations no one anticipated.
They’re nobody’s fault.
Instead of focusing on the negatives of these sorts of situations, find ways to make things positive again.
It’s true that most things can be done better. A mistake implies that there’s a better solution to a problem.
So people end up focusing too much on hindsight thinking. “If I did things this way it would have been perfect.”
But this “what if” mentality is faulty. There are never only two ways to do something; and there are never only two sure outcomes.
As mentioned, there are factors we simply can’t control. The side of the fork road you didn’t take leads to more fork roads, so there’s no way you could know that choosing that path instead was a surefire way to success.
Because success is always uncertain.
That’s why avoiding mistakes is useless. Mistakes are inevitable. You do your best to be careful in your actions, but eventually, you’ll slip and commit one anyway.
And it’s frustrating and nerve-racking and depressing and demotivating — it’s all these things and more. But this doesn’t mean you should quit and drown yourself in an endless loop of what-ifs.
Rather, you should get back up and find ways to do things better moving forward.
Life is always filled with challenges, and the best teacher is experience. Hence why wisdom is normally attributed to age. The older you get, the more mistakes you make. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the better you will be in helping others.
Yeah, trial and error doesn’t seem like an appealing way to learn, but even science uses this method for an eventuality of getting things right.
In business, making mistakes teaches you what not to do next time. It allows you to think outside the box and be more open minded in doing things differently.
Sticking to the tried and tested will only keep you in your comfort zone, and as a business coach, I’ve seen how no one ever achieves real success by avoiding taking risks.
What works for others might not work for you. So don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they might be a mistake. Let yourself try; let yourself fail. True failure only happens when you stop trying.
There’s a certain level of compassion that you gain from making mistakes. It’s a humbling experience, so you’ll be kinder and more understanding to the people around you.
They make mistakes, just like the rest of us do. Just like you do.
It’s in this acceptance of everyone’s proneness to committing mistakes that you begin to grow. By accepting mistakes, you’ll be able to see issues more objectively. You’ll be able to understand the problem and learn better ways of solving it.
Trust me, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past just to get to where I am now. And trust me too when I say that the mistakes you’re so scared of probably won’t kill your business.
Making mistakes builds resilience, something that’s sadly missing in our world now. Fearing failure keeps people in their own shell. It makes them afraid of the world and the many opportunities it offers.
With your resilience and knowledge through the errors you’ve made, you’ll be braver and smarter in taking on the challenges that your business will continue to face.
It’s not easy to embrace your mistakes, but once you disassociate yourself from them and understand that you and your worth are not defined by your failures, you’ll be able to move on more headstrong than before.
“Don’t fear your mistakes” is easier said than done. Nobody likes bad results and the consequences that follow. But it is this fear of mistakes that hinders us from succeeding.
The path to success is riddled with problems and challenges, and we’re all bound to mess up the first time we encounter them. But through those blunders and miscalculations, we’re able to grow. We’re able to know what to do and where to go next. We’re able to prepare ourselves for bigger challenges now that we’re equipped with the right knowledge from our less-than-favourable firsthand experiences.
Most of all, we’re able to see new perspectives and try new things. Innovation is at the core of every business, so let yourself think outside the box.
Your mistakes now will be a treasure later on.
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