Do You Have Permission To Make Mistakes?

By Ryan Estis

“You are so stupid!”

He slammed the T-square across my drawing table in a fit of rage. If his intention was to humiliate me, it worked. I was in the 6th grade in Industrial Arts class and mechanical drawing wasn’t my jam. I’d get behind, hold up “his” class and pay for my mistakes through shame and public humiliation.

The message was consistently reinforced during my formative years. Do what you’re told. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t ask why. Follow the rules. Don’t screw up and you won’t get hurt. I figured out how to survive by following the rules.

We took a few liberties with the rules in college, but when I arrived at my first “real” job I was pretty well conditioned and comfortable with a culture that rewarded you for following the rules and punished you for loosely interpreting them or worse, experimenting with a different way of doing things and making a mistake. “Follow the formula” was a mantra I could buy into. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it was the work agreement that worked for me.

The Fear Is Real

It’s easy to fall in love with the “formula” for success. It’s understandable when we don’t want to deviate from our formative conditioning. It feels safer when someone else gives us the instructions to follow. That was where I felt the most comfortable early in my career. I wanted to follow the rules and avoid failure at all costs.

Fear of failure is a powerful driving force that fuels limiting beliefs and a false narrative that holds us back from reaching our true potential.

In fact, fewer than fifty percent of employees believe that failure is treated as a learning opportunity. As a result, most people aren’t willing to take risks, challenge the status quo, or bring new ideas to the table. The fear of failure and risk of retribution is too strong. So, individuals, teams and organizations get stuck in a certain way of doing business and fall dramatically short of their true potential. Success breeds complacency. Complacency can put you out of business.

Past success is no longer a good indicator of future performance. Disrupt yourself before the marketplace does it for you.

Getting unstuck and moving beyond the fear often takes hard work, courage and a willingness to get uncomfortable, but it’s work worth doing.

It has taken me years of work to get there personally, but the ability to acknowledge my fear and move directly into it is one of the most coveted skills I developed when I walked away from a safe career I could no longer stomach and embraced the uncertainty of building a business and life I loved.

Ironically, betting on me was actually the safest bet I could’ve made. My only regret is the time and opportunity cost wasted from being so afraid and not making my move much sooner. Turns out that companies, teams and individuals that aren’t willing to place bets, take risks, make mistakes, learn and course-correct aren’t very Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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