Are you afraid of making mistakes? Do you go through life constantly hesitant in your actions and second guessing everything you say?
Everyone is afraid of making mistakes in at least one area of their lives, and what I’ve found after years of working with people on social confidence (both privately and in groups) is that a fear of making mistakes tends to coincide with a lack of confidence.
If you lack confidence in one aspect of your life, that is also the aspect in which you will tend to experience the most fear.
Some of us feel incredibly confident when it comes to work, but we clam up when it comes to intimacy; some of us have amazing physical confidence, but never know how to express ourselves verbally; some of us are great at one-on-one interactions, but suffer when it comes to talking in groups.
At work, we worry that we’ll be judged for not knowing what we’re doing; in our relationships, we worry that we’ll be judged for our personal imperfections; socially, we worry that we’ll say the wrong thing or offend someone.
Now, obviously, if your work includes nuclear codes or performing complicated surgeries, a mistake is something you want to avoid at all costs. In most cases, however, the mistakes we’re afraid of are not part of a life-or-death scenario—the only thing they really hurt is your perfectionist image of yourself.
Actually, that’s not true—they do far more damage than that.
These supposed social mistakes—seeming unprepared or incorrect or unknowledgeable—they’re constricting your personality and inundating you with fear all day long.
The real problem is that you can compound these “mistakes” if you also think you should never feel irritated, upset, or discouraged. If you’re really hard on yourself, you can even convince yourself that your very existence is a mistake.
If this is the mindset with which you go about your daily life, then it doesn’t matter how successful, good looking, or personable you are: you will not possess confidence.
Once you’re caught in that downward spiral of self-discouragement, the only way out is to take that pressure completely off yourself.
If you really want to liberate yourself, then you must accept that you’re going to make mistakes once in a while.
Just accept it:
Sure, I’m going to make mistakes today—lots of them!—but they’re not going to put an end to my successes; they’re not going to hurt my chance at happiness; and they’re not going to ruin my life.
These mistakes that we berate ourselves for are nothing to cry over. In fact, for some people, they’d barely be worth mentioning. That’s the mindset we should all aspire to reach!
Let’s take the video version of this topic, for example: I’m sure there are people out there right now judging or questioning my choices—the background, what I’m wearing, what I say and how I say it—and I know that they’re judging it! If I wanted to, I could obsess about all of these so-called mistakes all day long . . . but it wouldn’t be productive, and it wouldn’t make my video any better.
If we all focused on all the mistakes we might be making from moment to moment, we’d never get anything done.
We’d never speak in public, or talk to the people we’re attracted to, or take a chance on something that might bring us happiness. We’d never put ourselves out there at all!
So, what is the hold-up for you? What area of your life causes you undue stress in regard to making mistakes?
Maybe you’re struggling with mistake insecurity in multiple areas of your life; maybe it’s only causing a slowdown in progress, as opposed to a complete halt; maybe it’s a totally debilitating hindrance. Regardless of how this mindset is affecting your life, however, the time has come to let it go.
All of this pressure that you’re putting on yourself to be perfect—it’s all in your head.
Nobody on Earth demands infallibility from you except yourself.
When we’re dealing with this issue, we tend to think in terms of other people: What will they think of me?! But the truth is that it’s not about them: it’s about you.
If you can learn to stop judging yourself and allow some room for the occasional reasonable mistake, you will be amazed at the results you see. Not only will you experience an unhindered freedom to pursue your goals like you’ve never known, you’ll also experience unexpected outcomes that may change your life in ways you couldn’t have imagined.
So, let’s take the pressure off, get out into the world, and allow ourselves a little room for imperfection every now and then. You’ll feel more alive, more engaged, and more impactful than you’ve ever felt—and you’ll finally begin creating the life that you want for yourself.
Please take the time to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. What insights have you gained through exploring your fear of making mistakes? What are the areas in your life in which you carry the most fear? How can you work to free yourself of that fear and start to make an impact in the world around you? Sharing with one another is extremely important to our growth and will serve to strengthen our engagement and prepare us for the big changes we’re going to experience in the outside world . . . so let’s keep it up and continue our tradition of support and encouragement.
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.