The moment I realized it I broke into a sweat.
I had made a mistake in my new job. I had no idea how my boss would take it. For many years, I rarely admitted a mistake because I had spent time in personal and professional environments where it was never safe to be less than perfect. People focused on blame rather than solutions. Admit to one mistake, and you would be reminded of it for years.
I took a deep breath, knocked on my boss’ office door, and said, “I have to talk to you. I made a mistake.”
He smiled and replied, “Well, I’ve already made several this morning. Come on in, and we’ll talk about it.” And then we focused on a solution.
I began to realize how much energy I was wasting worrying or preparing myself in case something went wrong. I didn’t have to anymore. He knew I worked hard. I grew to trust him more.
More importantly, I grew to trust myself and let myself be perfectly imperfect.
Then I passed it on.
A friend didn’t show up for a date and called quite apologetic. She had forgotten and explained what had happened at home. I laughed and said, “Are you trying to tell me you’re not perfect?” A vendor made a mistake in the file, so I called him. We focused on a solution.
I recently read an article about a woman who said her dad required them to fail at something at least once per week and share it at Sunday dinner. That way they were always trying new activities, and mistakes were good things. They were signs of new adventures.
Today every day is a step outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes I screw up. But my goal is to learn from it and go on to make new mistakes. Let’s change the idea of mistakes as a sign of growth. Go ahead. Make a mistake. Dare ya. What are you going to do now?