Is Making Mistakes Part of Your Strategy?
Most of our parents were not psychologists or child development experts. They all did the best they could. They made mistakes. We all make mistakes. We all live with the consequences of our mistakes and the mistakes of others. How you feel about making mistakes can affect your life profoundly.
Alina Tugend, author of “Better By Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong” writes that the fear of mistakes starts early. One of the reasons is that we say one thing and do another: We say that mistakes provide learning opportunities, but we do everything we can to protect kids from making them.
Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein, authors of “Raising Resilient Children” two child-development experts write that while we do not want our children to face ongoing failure, to attempt to overprotect them and rush in whenever we fear they might fail at a task robs them of the important lesson, namely that mistakes are experiences from which to learn. It also communicates another subtle or not-so-subtle message to a child: ‘I don’t think you are strong enough to deal with obstacles and mistakes.’
Story: Learning About Natural Consequences and Problem Solving
Learning about the loss of electricity: If you have a power outage and you usually enter your home through an electric garage door opener, you may need to use a key to get into your home.
Here is a possible scenario: You have a teenager. A short but severe wind storm causes damages to power lines in the area and you can expect to be out of power for several days. This has happened before. Your teenager goes to a friend’s house. Next day his friend drops him off and leaves. The teenager did not bring his house key. No one is home and he is stranded in the driveway. You receive a call from an upset teenager. It’s a warm summer day in a safe neighborhood.
What would you do? Drop everything and rush home to let your teenager in the house? Tell him you’ll be home in about an hour and finish your errands? Explain that he should have brought his key or called first or any other “lesson”? Try and help him calm down? How would you handle a situation like this? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Call to Action and Why This Matters:
As adults we all have conscious and not so conscious beliefs about making mistakes. Many of us don’t want to make them. The extent to which we avoid making mistakes creates the limits of our success potential. If you were afraid of making mistakes when learning to ride a bike, you might not have learned to ride one. Balancing on two wheels is not something we are born with. For that matter, we weren’t born to balance on two feet either. At first we fell – repeatedly.
You can observe fear of mistakes especially in companies. So much is at stake. Making mistakes could lose you your job. That would affect your ability to earn a living and severely affect the lifestyle you enjoy and the paycheck you have come to rely on.
How do we avoid making costly mistakes? We fear and resist change.
The irony is that by resisting change and fearing change and mistakes, we may be making the biggest mistake of all. We stay stuck in a very limiting comfort zone.
Here is my suggestion for an antidote:
1. Decide on a goal you want to achieve and are willing to go for.
2. Think of times in the past when you have overcome obstacles and achieved your goal. Know that you can solve problems and obstacles when they get in your way. Trust that you’ll be able to recover from your mistakes.
3. Have courage to take steps towards your goal. Be willing to take actions, some of which might turn out to be mistakes and learning opportunities.
4. When you hit a wall, start looking for ways around or through. You may need a ladder or a key. Get help.
5. Laugh. Laughing dissolves tension. It allows you to see the humor in a situation. It tends to get people unstuck.
6. Keep going. Sometimes you get to ride an express train for part of your life’s journey. Other times it feels like you are riding on the back of a snail. Just keep going.
7. Celebrate. Take time to celebrate your successes and milestones. Take time to reflect and notice how far you have come.
If you would like to know about what energy you bring to your life’s journey and how to bring more energy into your life, call me to schedule an Energy Assessment and coaching. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.