Are You Blaming Yourself for Things That Look like ‘Mistakes’?
I’m generally someone who likes things to move along pretty quickly. I get an idea, I like it to happen. I’ve learnt, though, over the years, that life sometimes has a way of confounding my plans, and that, actually, things work out better if I just go along with it (after the requisite sigh, of course ;-)).
This outlook also gives me a much healthier perspective on things that look like ‘mistakes’.
I had a simple demonstration of this a couple of weeks ago. It was the last call of a client’s programme and I was looking forward to our final check-in.
I got on zoom and waited. And waited. But my client didn’t show. I emailed to check on her and it turned out she’d written it in her diary for the wrong week.
She was apologetic, contrite about her mistake, and we rearranged the appointment for the following week.
“Don’t worry,” I told her. “These things happen; it’s a simple mistake.”
The next week rolled by, and it was my turn to get it wrong — I’d written down the wrong day. We laughed, and she even joked that I’d intentionally missed the appointment to make her feel better about her mistake. Ha!
All in all, it was a couple of weeks before we could speak again and her project had moved closer to launch.
While she’d been feeling good at the time we’d originally arranged to speak, things now looked very different. She was doubting herself, second-guessing herself, unable to see clearly and spiralling down into over-thinking mode. She was even thinking of calling the whole thing off. It’s at times like these that we least feel like reaching out for help — and it’s when the right kind of support can make the biggest difference.
We had a great call. I left her feeling calmer; able to see where she’d been wrapping herself in a misunderstanding, able to get perspective, to quiet the noise in her head and see where to go next. In fact, the timing couldn’t have been better.
So, you see, we never know whether what looks like a mistake in one moment can lead to something working out for the best.
I know this is a trivial example and you’re probably thinking about all those times when you really did “get it wrong.”
But I don’t know that there’s an order of magnitude when it comes to mistakes.
Think back — have there been times when you’ve kicked yourself for being late, only to find the problem was resolved without you. Or times you didn’t get a job, only for a better one to come along?
I’m not saying there’s a grand plan at work here (although who knows, maybe there is?!), I just want to point out that playing the blame game doesn’t help anyone. What’s done is done. We never know what’s around the corner so why not look forward to it, rather than look back at things we can’t change anyway…
…especially if there’s a chance that what’s in front of us is even more exciting than what’s behind.
Have a fantastic week, go easy on yourself and maybe experiment with letting go of some of the things that looked, at the time, like ‘mistakes’. Who knows, they may be the best things that ever happened to you.