- Posted by Janet Zaretsky
- On May 23, 2017
- 0 Comments
“Seriously, What is WRONG with me?” I screwed up again. I made a bad judgement in business and the new project I began a few months ago FAILED big time. Far from my first mistake or failure in business, and likely not my last.
Have you had this experience? Do you feel like you keep repeating the same mistakes and are tired of it? What effect has that had on your business or career?
Both entrepreneurs and career professionals –all people will make mistakes, and likely go through a failure, or two, (or ten!) in their career! On one hand, most of us realize this, but when it is happening to you, we don’t like it and we resist it like crazy. Why? I assert that you and I don’t embrace the experience of failing or even making a mistake because it dredges up the times we did when we were young (may have been as a child or even in school or a first job) and we got into trouble. It triggers that old brain pattern from the past. When that brain pattern is triggered, our neurochemical cocktail is triggered and we are automatically in a fight, flight, freeze or appease reaction. It is instantaneous. It is also very familiar and not fun.
When I discover or someone points out my mistakes or in the example I spoke to earlier, when I discover a big failure, I have this sensation of my hair standing on end, my skin gets prickly, my muscles in my neck get tight and I get that sinking feeling in my gut. It is as if I can hear my mom yelling in a very angry voice, “Janet Rae…”. And I know I am in trouble. I want to run and hide. You likely have something similar.
When I was in my first career, mistakes could be deadly- seriously. I was an R.N. working first in an Emergency Room and then most of my career was in the Neonatal Intensive Care. Life was truly at stake. I made one big mistake early in my career which caused a patient injury. I was 22 years old. I was appropriately disciplined and trained. That mistake shaped my career for the next 20 years, I was a perfectionist. I was extremely thorough and very good. I was given tremendous responsibility and rose up my career ladder easily. I am certain that the lesson I learned shaped who I was when I was practicing nursing and who I am as a business coach today.
Here is the important thing- as an adult professional in business, if you are going to succeed, you need to be willing to fail. You must be willing to make mistakes. You should embrace the failure and learn the lesson. No risk, no reward is true. Playing it safe, may keep you comfortable, but you will never achieve a ton of success from a safe playground. This is counter to what we, as human beings, are driven towards. Our natural drive is to be comfortable. One of the mantras I share with my coaching clients about this drive to be comfortable is “One day you will be comfortable, you will be in a satin lined box for a long sleep. Today is not that day, so get comfortable being uncomfortable! Life is happening on the skinny branches.” In other words, start taking risks. The other critical thing to remember when you fear taking a risk is that whatever the worst thing that you imagine could happen, will not be as bad as you think. And when you imagine the worst thing, know you can survive it. You may be afraid, but, in reality, your life is not at stake!
When you fail, talk to a coach or a mentor and discover the lesson in the failure. That is where the gold is, in what you did that you will not do again or do differently. People can tell you what to do, you can read books about what to do, but without question, the lessons we learn by experience are the ones we ingrain. If you embrace your mistakes and your failures and leverage those lessons into your business or your career, you will break through to bigger and better successes. Get out on the skinny branches now!