Celebrating My Mistakes

Dropped ice cream cone laying on the path

I often have conversations with clients about being good enough. This commonly shows up as perfectionistic tendencies. Sometimes it shows up as imposter syndrome. This is when we doubt our own abilities and fear being found out as a fraud. A theme through all of this is the fear of making mistakes.

Fear of mistakes

For some people this can be paralyzing, causing them to procrastinate instead of taking action. I used to pride myself on not making mistakes. When one of my coaches asked me how I was with mistakes, the question stopped me dead in my tracks. My thought – I don’t make mistakes.

I now see this very differently. Not expecting to make mistakes is wholly unrealistic. If I am not willing to make mistakes, I shut myself down to learning something new, to being a beginner. As I’ve been helping to build our new house, I’ve made my share of mistakes. Rather than worry about, I have a new philosophy.

Celebrating my mistakes

I have decided to celebrate my mistakes. Rather than feel shame or that not good enough feeling, I feel pride. I tried something new and I learned a lot. Next time will be better, and so will the time after that. This is the mindset of being a beginner. I am not good at this yet and I will get better. It is hard to be an imposter if we are a beginner.

How are you with making mistakes? Are they holding you back or are you celebrating them as a sign of learning and growth?

Comments (1)

This is such an important subject Andy, so thanks for addressing it in such a straightforward way.

For some of us, shame is so automatically triggered, that the initial trick is in learning to notice what’s happening (mindfulness practices anyone?), letting it go, and learning to consciously generate a more empowered state, such as celebrating with pride, as you mention.

I have also found that the mood of curiosity is a really powerful support for learning from failure. After all, babies and young children have tons of curiosity (and not so much shame), and that’s what they learn so fast.

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