Learning to accept mistakes

Posted Friday, November 1st, 2013. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

I really feel that making mistakes is a crucial part of life. And of course the learnign that comes after. The irony is that we have been taught,at least in the last few decades, that making mistakes is not good and we need to be ‘perfect’: the way we act, the way we learn and so forth. So here I am, I have produced a book that I am very proud of and is receiving really good reviews from people that I know. And sure enough while I was editing my e-reader version I found a significant mistake — to me.

I felt sick about it. How can I let this happen? In my chart on page 116 of Millennial vs Baby Boomers I wrote the age of the baby boomer 65+ rather than 51+. I then found a few more errors, less significant and so I gathered all my errors and had them changed for the next print.

The issue for me became, do I let the people know who had already bought the book there was an error or let it go? I happen to sit with a teen magazine editor and she said she receives messages from Penguin and others noting errors. This made me feel better.

So I decided, as I am about truth or I try my best, I emailed every person that had bought or received a book and let them know. No big deal.

It is much easier to give the advice than be the advice. This was a good lesson and reminder for me. First of all we are all perfect with our imperfections. Secondly, mistakes are OKAY. I really needed to walk my talk. Being a type A perfectionist has not always worked in my favour. I have had to learn to walk away and say, ‘it’s okay to leave a mess, or fix the errors on the next print.” It is tough yet I am determined to muddle through this and let it go. One of my biggest concerns is that by being this way I stop the flow of momentum and the energy of the book. I don’t want to do that. I want to learn to go with the flow. I can address any questions that comes up with those reading it, journalists or business people. Admitting my error and taking responsibility is more important. Again, it’s likely more an issue to me than to others.

I see how teaching our kids the need to be perfect can be crippling. I met with one of the teens that wrote the foreword for my book. She is in second year university studying pre-med. She is taking organic chemistry and another science that is really challenging. We talked about how many kids apply to med school and how so many will be turned down. We discussed that today it is not only your marks which are important rather also who you are – your contribution to society. I asked her if she thought it was a failure to not get into med school? She thought for a moment. For most kids they follow one path and this is all they know. I wanted to ensure her that this is not the truth. Failing or not getting in, depending how you view it, may be her greatest gift. I reminded her that there is so much to who she is that this is only one part and if you connect the dots backward there are many possibilities with what she is currently learning. She may in fact team up and work with a scientist who has a big breakthrough in medicine and she is part of that. Life is the journey not the destination. When I got her to think outside the box she saw what I was talking about.

I know when I left she returned to study her work for upcoming tests and exams however hopefully I have shown her a different way to look at things. I realize that I too need to look at things differently at times. I am currently evaluating with my son and my ex-husband the best choice of high school for my son to attend. It is a process. There are many factors. We need to stay open to all the possibilities and see what is the best fit for him. It takes all parties to think like this and I am not sure that it is.

Onward and forward…. let’s continue making mistakes and learning! Of course there is being accountable;
One thing that many of our politicians and people do not want to do. They may not have a choice.

Enjoy this weekend.

Time is changing this weekend. We gain an hour. Enjoy.

All my love,

Sandra

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