When did we start expecting perfection from ourselves? When did we start believing that mistakes and failures were fatal? When did we get so darn uptight? I’m perplexed.
I am a human full of flaws which put together tell the story of me, my growth, my value, my lessons and my life. I am very fortunate that I had a very supportive environment growing up; my parents were realistic enough to know that they did not create the perfect child in me. I obliged by proving it several times over.
I was the youngest of three. My brother was the brain and my sister was the social one. Then there was me. I didn’t fit into a category. This is where my dad was such a major influence on me. He taught me to use power tools, how to change a tire, how to bait my own hook, the importance of knowing being honest and respectful, as well as above all else, being a girl was not a factor in anything I did. Not taking anything away from my mom at all. She served as an example of many of the lessons he taught.
My brother patiently mentored me with my school work, especially in math. We both loved math, but it came easily to him and I had to learn how to crack its code. There is a definiteness about math. He allowed me to make mistakes and never made me feel stupid for doing so, then steered me back on the path of mastery.
I tried to take these lessons with me as an adult, mother and coach. When my son was younger I made a huge mistake at work. That night I told him about it because it was important to demonstrate two things: mom isn’t perfect and it isn’t always the mistake but the corrective action that is important.
This week I attended an event where I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Rob Bell speak. He teaches mental toughness training for sports, business and life. Early in his presentation he used an example involving golf.
Let me set the record straight – I am not a golfer. I was married to a golfer and seemed to only be invited to go when the weather was horrible and his golfing buddies didn’t want to go in that kind of a mess. The day I chipped in for a birdie was pretty much the end of that.
The point of the story was about a mistake Dr. Rob had made and the ripple effects. Not being a golfer I didn’t participate in the groan that was heard after he mentioned his mistake, but I was still as engaged. Why – because he made himself the example without demeaning himself.
By the way, Dr Rob gave a fantastic presentation and I highly recommend you visit his website to learn more about him (www.drrobbell.com) and while you are there be sure to check out his newest book!
Self-depreciation is charming to a point. Self-slamming is uncomfortable and unnecessary.
We all make mistakes. I find we are much easier on others in accepting their mistakes than we are for ourselves.
Knock it off.
Give yourself a break, will ya?
Next time you screw up, and you will – we are all human, try something a little different. Tell the story out loud. Not to yourself in a bashing kind of way. Instead, as though you were talking to your child, your best friend or your spouse. How would you tell the story to someone that you either want to serve as an example for or someone that loves you unconditionally? We tell those that love us our failures because we know they will say it is ok, we will do better.
Start saying that to yourself. “It is ok, you will do better.”
What did you learn from this? How can you improve it right now? What can you do in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again? What other surprise lessons were learned from this? There are often hidden treasures for us that we just need to open our eyes to see. Once we discover them it is quite amazing how much we can truly learn from one mistake or failure.
Abraham Lincoln’s mother told her family on her deathbed to be kind to one another. Yes, be kind to one another and be kind to yourself.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer