Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

Why making mistakes is the best thing you’ll ever do!

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20140409-125121.jpg Melanie started her business 2 years ago.  She is passionate about health and fitness and all things to do with educating people about how to live a healthy life.  When she started her business 2 years ago she knew she wanted to focus specifically on the personal training side of things and wanted to focus on personal training for working mums. With gusto she set up her website, which she paid someone to put together.  She came up with a logo and had business cards printed and started to promote her business.  So, business started coming in slowly.  She was happy, excited even.

The only problem was that, a few months in, when Melanie talked about her business, her brow would furrow and she wanted to change the subject.  So different to the woman that had started out. What had changed?  Well, about 6 months into the process, Melanie realised that she had set up the ‘wrong business’.

Though she still felt passionate about personal training, the only clients she enjoyed working with were a couple of serious runners and triathletes that her come her way, completely by accident.  These clients were so different to the clients she was pitching to via her website, business material and social media profile that she felt like she was now stuck in a situation with a business that she had to continue with because it had cost time and money.  Also, everyone she knew, had known about ‘what Melanie was doing’.  She couldn’t change it now.  It had all been a mistake!  Or was it?….

There are many lessons to be learnt through (a true) story like this one, but I want to focus for a moment is why something like this can feel like its been a mistake.  After all what is a mistake?  In fact when is the last time you made a mistake? This morning? Yesterday? Last week, last year? Or are you the kind of person that NEVER makes mistakes? Well if you are the kind of person who ‘doesn’t make mistakes’ or maybe you just don’t like to make mistakes, I’m going to ask you for a moment, to rethink how you feel and relate to them.

I’d like for you to just consider, that only when we make mistakes, does it mean that we are really pushing ourselves, taking ourselves out of our comfort zone and challenging ourselves to do things differently or to learn something new. Think about learning a new language for example?  It would be ridiculous to assume that you would get everything right the first time.  It takes time to learn things like the grammar and pronunciation.  Maybe you like baking and you like to keep on making the same recipe until you are happy with how it tastes.  You tweak it and adapt what you add until you like the finished article.

The list goes on and there are many analogies.  The point is, is that making ‘mistakes’ is part of our learning process and the same applies to many areas of our life, including business.  Show me a successful business person, and show me one who hasn’t made a mistake during their career?  Whether it be compiling the wrong product, dealing with people you knew you shouldn’t have, mistakes around pricing your products and services, a rubbish logo or website or just setting up something that no longer inspires you….just like Melanie.

The biggest ‘mistake’ that Melanie could have made in fact, was to keep pursuing something that she was unhappy with.  What she did end up doing, having come to see me for some Coaching Psychology input, was to re-shift, re-brand and re-think how she related to what had happened.  We looked at the learning process that had been the last 6 months and how she could use that to further her current business and progress in an area of new passion.

So many people tick along being unhappy with something in their life, for the fear of making mistakes or of failing at something.  We worry about lost time, lost money, how we will look to our friends and family if we try something and it hasn’t worked out…..but wouldn’t you rather be playing the game, making mistakes and picking yourself up again rather than standing on the side lines, from where it is very easy to criticise.

So…make mistakes!  Mistakes are good….it means you are alive, playing the game and therefore have a better chance of winning. Till next week…..x

When have you put yourself all out and made what you felt was a mistake at the time?  Did that mistake actually turn out to be a gift?

What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt from something that you have done?  I’d love to hear all about it.


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