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Julia Fourie | Life Coach Cape Town

Life Coaching Tip: If I Make A Mistake Everyone Will Think I Am Stupid

Julia Fourie, Life Coach, Cape Town

April 30 2018

As a Life Coach I am often made aware of fundamental questions that we all find ourselves struggling with. Things like if you try something new and struggle to get it right what will people think, if you make a mistake in a report to your boss what will he think? What is unbelievable is that we often would fail at something, perhaps a test, and then we start to see ourselves as a failure, as stupid instead of the reality that it is an outcome of a test on a particular body of knowledge and our understanding of that and not our mental ability.

These belief impacts our world, how we interact in it, what we expect form ourselves and others and how we relate to everything that touches our lives. Lets explore this fundamental question on “To be good enough I can’t make mistakes”. I recently came across this African Proverb that could help us to explore this further.

It is crooked wood that shows the best sculptor.

Imagine going through life never making mistakes, perfect scores on tests, always having the answers. Really pause and think about it. What would it mean? Well for starters you wouldn’t have patience, endurance and perseverance – as these skills only come from the experience of trying, failing, learning from the failure and trying again.

If you get it right the first time – what have you learnt? One possibility is that you will learn to fear trying it another way as now that you know the right way, what chance is there of you being able to find another way. So never failing, never making a mistake can also limit your creativity, your willingness to explore, to experience.

Another deeper truth is that it keeps you in your comfort zone. Comfort zones are well exactly that, comfortable – you know what it feels like, what is required – and yet you can’t experience newness, you can’t grow, learn, meet your goals or evolve if you stay there. You need to step out of your comfort zone, stretch yourself until you reach a new comfortable place where you can relax and explore until you are ready for the next stretch.

So to answer the question on if you are stupid if you make a mistake? I would ask you if you are brave enough to stay true to your goals and to reach this you must leave the much travelled risk free path and explore the road less travelled as there you will find the tools needed to reach your dreams. Without the learnings of the past you have no tools to guide yourself.

Try out this simple technique to keep your fear of making mistakes in check!

1. The next time you are about to say no to something pause and consider the following.

2. What is preventing you from engaging?

3. What would you gain from trying this anyway?

4. Do others share your concern? Is this a possibility that they could experience the same?

5. What support do you need to find the courage to try anyway?

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