There are days when I can’t do it all.
No one can, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. And it surely doesn’t stop me from repeatedly falling short. If you’re anything like me, you see this as a failure.
Last week, I couldn’t make it to the post office before closing time – personal errand failure. I didn’t answer any personal emails until the end of the work week – time management failure. I couldn’t get a source to call me back or open the door for me – professional failure. I made a smoothie for dinner instead of a real meal – delicious, but still my latest domestic failure.
I’m hard on myself. I want to succeed. When I make a mistake or fail to follow through, I kick myself for days.
Caught in the act: pulling out my hair on assignment. Photo by Annette Lein
It’s normal to fail. I certainly learn more from my mistakes than when I tackle something correctly on the first go-around. I remember what I did wrong.
So let me share a few fabulous failures and flaws (and corresponding lessons) with you:
Never make an offer that you aren’t willing to follow through on. You’ve never been to “fill-in-the-blank-city?” Why don’t you come with me? Trust me on this one. Don’t offer to be nice. Don’t say it unless you mean it. Otherwise, the weird chick you met while volunteering at the thrift shop could commandeer your upcoming trip.
If something sounds off, it probably is. It’s ok to question people if you think something sounds wrong. My first big professional failure – a source flat-out lied to me. And I fell for it, in part because I didn’t want him to think I didn’t know the ins and outs of local politics. He knew I didn’t, and he took advantage.
It’s OK to ask for help. I love to bake, but I can’t get cupcakes right to save my life and I refuse to ask for help. As a result, I don’t even like to EAT cupcakes. Hmm. Maybe that’s actually for the best.
Speak up for yourself and your loved ones. If you don’t do it, who will?
My mother often will tell me that no one is perfect, that we all grow and evolve based on our experiences. Among her famous quotes:
I won’t make the same mistakes as my parents did. I learned from those. I’ll make new ones.
True enough, mom.
Now I want to hear from you. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a mistake? What advice would you give others?