Jan 10

Plan on making mistakes

KISS pandasMistakes are crucial to success. Mistakes are how we learn. But we get so hung up on ‘Oh God, I made a mistake, I feel so stupid’ that we resolve never to try again. Babies (thank heavens) don’t think that way. Try and walk. Fall. Roll around on the floor. Get up. Try and walk. Fall. Cry a bit. Realise no one is watching. Stop crying. Get up. Try and walk. Walk. At least, that’s how I did it. If you learned another way, let me know.

And I get confused about this “you can’t ‘try’ and do something – you can only do it or not do it”. Sorry to rain on Yoda’s parade, but “do, or do not, there is no ‘try’” and the equivalent hokum from a thousand personal improvement speakers and coaches has probably set this country back years. Trying, experimenting – and failing – is the only way to learn how to do anything.

When I left my comfortable and ridiculously highly paid job to follow my heart and create a business helping people, I failed. Completely. But I got back in the game and tried again. And people started to like what I produced. But – and here’s the thing – I hadn’t learned the lessons I needed to learn UNTIL I fell flat on my face.

You can learn from your mistakes.. or you can learn from other people’s mistakes. If you’re smart, you’ll learn from both. You’ll talk to people and work out what worked for them, and what didn’t. You’ll read books and learn from the great achievers – those people who shaped the world. And you’ll get out there and try some stuff and get it wrong.

My planning for 2014 includes making mistakes. And it includes looking stupid. I might as well expect it, cause it’s likely to happen! Mike Litman, author of “Conversations with Millionaires” says “You don’t have to get it right – you just have to get it going”. You just have to start, and put some energy behind it.

It seems that success goes to the person who’s prepared to make some mistakes. Incredible success seems to go to the person who’s prepared to make a LOT of mistakes. Do you know how often a plane is actually ‘on course’? Practically never. But when it gets off course, it corrects and brings it back on course.

So maybe it’s time to be proud of those moments where things don’t go to plan. Because it’s in those moments that our character is forged. Those moments bring the greatest learning. And those moments, each one of them, bring us nearer to success.