If you are thinking about leaving your job, starting a business, or expanding your business, I'll just bet you may be experiencing some fear of making a mistake.
For instance, have you ever experienced this?
You have an idea - a good idea that you're excited about. Then maybe you think: "I could turn this idea into a book - and then into DVD's or maybe even a multi-media project. Maybe I could add graphics and special effects. Wait!! I don't know how to do any of that. I don't even know if there is a market for this, and I don't know how to find out. Probably no one wants it anyway. What am I thinking!!
This all happened in a split second. And now you're feeling stuck because you've run out of ideas. And, you are terrified to make a decision for fear it will be the wrong one, and, you feel awful about yourself because you can't seem to make any progress.
This "fear of making a mistake pattern" is "perfectionism at work." Perfectionism is an addiction to lack. That's why perfectionists struggle to succeed. The perfectionist only sees what isn't there, what they don't know, what the problems are. They will argue for their limitations. They will explore all the possibilities for making mistakes. Their lives and businesses are filled with "Not Enough".....not enough confidence, decision-making, and risk taking resulting in not enough clients, support, staff, and income. You may even think: "Why can't I get it right!"
Now, we all have moments of feeling inadequate. This "not enough" comes from fear, uncertainty, insecurity, and terror of making decisions in case they're wrong, and we learned it early on in childhood no matter how stellar our parents may have been. Many of us may not have had anything close to the ideal upbringing, and we are still viewing our lives and work through those younger eyes.
I have certainly experienced this for myself, and realized at one point, I was trying to run a grown up business with a 5 year old emotional body.
So here are a few tips to break the cycle:
• Recognize you are afraid, but understand it is NOT the smart, savvy, experienced adult person you are, but a very scared 5 year old. (Yes, you do have a very adult side to you.) But, treat yourself with gentleness and respect just like you would any young child. If you are critical, that part of you will shut down even more, and your business can really stall. Like it or not, the child in all of us runs our world, so be kind.
• Lower your expectations. Keep it light. Experiment often. One of my favorite quotes is from a former coach of mine: Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. She also told me that if I wanted to be successful there is no room for perfectionism. I have found that to be sage advice.
• The More Mistakes, the More Success. Mistakes are just experiments that didn't turn out as expected. Major industries have evolved from big mistakes. In 1970 Spencer Silver at 3M was told to make a strong glue, but it was a tragic failure because he only produced this slightly sticky substance, which is now known as Post-It Notes, 3M's most successful product.
Ruth Wakefield, proprietor of the Toll House Inn, was having trouble with her cookies and added some broken pieces of chocolate that, to her surprise, never melted properly in the batter. Voila! The chocolate chip cookie was born and was named after her inn and is still the most popular cookie in the world providing jobs to thousands of workers. You get the idea. The list of success from mistakes is very long.
• Take it Slow. If you have a great idea, or any idea, get support from other people so you don't race into the "What- made- me- think- I- could-do- this- so- it's- over" mode. Run it past trusted advisors, a coach or mastermind group so they can help you break it down into pieces and talk you off the ledge. You need support and soothing, and most of us just can't do it for ourselves.
• Any Action Creates Momentum. Just keep focused on what you want and take tiny steps. You don't have to do everything overnight. Actually the big approach usually slows us down because we get scared. With smaller steps, you can easily self-correct. You're less likely to make big errors, but action, ANY action creates momentum. It doesn't have to be big or bold; just consistent.
And, one day, you'll realize you have achieved a goal, and it was so imperfect and non-stressful that you will actually wonder how it happened!! Here's to achieving your success and enjoying all its imperfections!