We exist in a society petrified of making a mistake or committing an error. We see that fear broadcast big and bold when someone flubs his or her speech at an awards ceremony or someone messed up the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game. We see memes designed to ridicule those who make mistakes forever immortalizing them in a viral sensation for others to laugh at behind the safety of their mobile devices. We sit ready to judge the very next misstep or typo or grammatical error or literal trip up as someone falls on his or her face.
As a result, when it is our turn, when we are at the plate, when we have to give the speech, when we have to perform – we freeze. We become paralyzed in fear. What if I mess up? What if I make a mistake? Will I ever recover from the mistake?
And that fear will keep us grounded as long as we allow it to, which, sadly for some may be forever.
One of my first brushes with this coincided with my first opportunity as a writer and editor for a small newspaper. Every time we put out an issue we would receive a large envelope in the mail with no return address. Inside was our most recent issue, which was edited by some anonymous individual with red ink circling and indicating every single error or mistake we had made. This happened issue after issue for the two years I was there. Who knows, 20 years later it could still be happening.
Was this somewhat embarrassing and uncomfortable? Sure. Did I survive it? Let me check my pulse real quick.
Believe me that was the one the smaller end of the spectrum of errors I’ve made in my professional career (we can just leave the personal life out of this). The trick I learned was that we cannot allow ourselves to get caught up on the errors and allow fear to prevent us from doing more work.
Last week I had a comment on one of my blogs indicating that the reader liked my blog content but how I should be embarrassed by the grammatical errors in my writing.
What was my response? Nothing.
I appreciate the person reading and hope my weekly articles bring value to their life and their professional journey. However if a few rogue typos or grammatical errors slip through the cracks – I’ll live.
Over time I’ve basically learned not to care too much about small errors or mistakes. I rather focus on people’s ability to do something.
The author who is able to published his or her first book.
The model who is able to land his or her first paid assignment.
The personal trainer who is able to develop his or her first program for clients.
That is what I care about. Should that not be what everyone cares abot? Yes, the typo was intended.
Author’s Note: If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful in your own brand’s journey – please share it with a friend to help them overcome their own obstacles.