How to be Okay with Being Wrong & Letting Go of Being Perfect
“Our love of being right is best understood as our fear of being wrong.” - Kathryn Schulz
Why this topic today? Why now? Being wrong is a massive part of being an entrepreneur. Being okay with being wrong is being comfortable with the unknown.
Some of you may be asking yourself, “What does being okay with being wrong” have to do with entrepreneurship and business? My friend, I am here to tell you that it has everything to do with building a business.
So much of why we don’t take action or we procrastinate is derived from the fear of being wrong or perceived being wrong especially when it has something to do about what others think of us.
We put off launching our first product because we don’t think it’ll be good enough, then doubt creeps in and we start thinking of all the other educators out there who have what we believe, flawless products.
We delay diving into course content because we’re waiting for the perfect moment, and the perfect place, and the quietest space before we just dive in. Or we might consider that the people who sign up for it won’t get value from it or even worse, what if we launch it and no one signs up. Crickets, crickets. Our energy shifts in an instant and we take ourselves from being excited to defeated.
We procrastinate taking action because of not getting it right or wanting it to be perfect. In essence that we might be wrong.
Disappointment is a natural feeling and more often than not drives resilience and determination. But in our world, today, feeling disappointed from being wrong drives the feeling of embarrassment and overturns the desire to learn with the desire to be perfect.
We create a closed loop of wanting to be right, to be perfect that we actually create an invisible bubble around ourselves.
What are you missing out on in life because you’re afraid to be wrong? What is driving you to hold on to what you believe is right?
Is it learned behavior from how you were raised, the environment you currently create, the unrealistic standards you set for yourself?
Imagine that you’re just starting out and your first order of business is to email 10 people in your network to share with them what types of services you offer and to share the exciting news about launching your business. But you find yourself procrastinating writing the emails and sending them.
Sometimes I procrastinate recording podcast episodes. I have the outline all typed out and ready to go, the last thing I need to do is sit down and press record, upload the audio file and away we go.
But I find myself stalling at times because subconsciously it is if I’m waiting until the last possible moment until I have to get it done that shifts the pressure of trying to be perfect to “I just need to get this done.”
I think that by delaying it there may be a chance to make it closer to “perfect.” When actually doing so holds up the process and in turn, can cause errors in the production process.
We fear to make mistakes. We fear what others might think about us in the process of showing up as who we truly are.
We confuse “I am a failure” with “I did something that failed” When we associate an “I am” statement versus “I did something that failed” we associate it with shame.
"Based on my research and the research of other shame researchers, I believe that there is a profound difference between shame and guilt. I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.
I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.
I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous." - Brene Brown
It is extremely important to not confuse shame with guilt.
Having some fear of making mistakes can be a good thing because it can help improve our performance but too much fear can be paralyzing.
Most of us from a young age may have been protected by our parents to not make mistakes. They may have made decisions for us because they didn’t want to experience the pain of seeing us make the mistake when they knew best.
Ultimately though we learned to shield ourselves from the discomfort that plays out when we make a mistake or something doesn’t go the way we planned.
Making mistakes and being wrong brings up emotions and feelings of discomfort. We were also trained and told that we should be happy. All. The. Time. I don’t believe that is true. Because without times of sadness and discomfort, how do we know and experience the contrast of happiness and fulfillment?
Re frame: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Look at mistakes as a path for growth. When you make a mistake, remind yourself that making that mistake does not me stop or slow down, it means, keep going, you’re on the right path.
This is why when you speak to entrepreneurs often times they share that you have to feel your feelings in times of discomfort.
At the beginning of August I was encouraged by a close friend of mine to launch a course, thus Become Your Own Boss Accelerator. So I started the beginning phase of building a course…I started to outline the course, coming up with topics, figuring out who the course was going to serve best, what would be the result by taking the course, creating the sales page.
The creative juices were firing, I emotionally excited and couldn’t wait to share this new course with the world. Then, after I built out the initial sales page, I took it to my Facebook group to share with the world. I was really excited and had high expectations from the news I was about to share.
I shared with my Her Way Community group through video, not going to lie, I was nervous. I had so many impostor syndrome thoughts like “Oh man, will anyone buy? What if they think I’m saley? What if they don’t believe in the product?”
I felt that before, during and after the Facebook Live I did in the group. I personally often times put pressure on myself that as a host of this podcast I should have it all figured out and the truth is, I don’t. I’m learning along the way just like you are.
As I finished, I sat in my chair in my den and waiting. I had an expectation that someone was immediately going to purchase and when no one did, doubt started to FLOOD in. Those thoughts I shared with you prior became louder and in one moment I went from “Omgosh, everyone is going to love this to no one is going to buy, do I even continue?”
In ONE moment. Like what?!?!
I immediately felt sluggish, I lacked belief in myself because the result of what I wanted and had expected did not happen that day when I went live in my Facebook community.
I defaulted to feeling shame. I defaulted to “I failed” vs “What can I do differently or why didn’t it work?”
Which prepped me for a later experience that I had when I did my first webinar.
What are the thoughts you have about making mistakes or being wrong? When you get ready to send the email, launch the course, do something that scares you, what are your thoughts you tell yourself?
“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” - Dr. Seuss
How to be okay with being wrong:
Think abundantly. One failure does not mean ultimate failure. There will be many more chances to succeed an do well.
Ask yourself “What am I choosing to focus on in the moment of that said failure? What do you attach meaning to?”
View everything as an experiment. All human advancement is based on a scientific investigation by scientists. Constantly trying to prove or disprove their hypothesis. How can we be a scientist in our own life?
Stay committed to the result, your outcome, not your plan. By staying committed to the result you won’t allow yourself to be influenced by your emotional experience along the way. Often when we experience emotional discomfort (and there is a lot when it comes to being your own business owner), we quickly want to numb the discomfort by taking the pressure off and backing away from what is necessary for us to experience to get the result we want. We must stay disciplined. Discipline is doing the things you don’t want to do in order to get the results that you want. Example, when you’re in cycling class and the instructor tells you to push yourself a little harder, do you push yourself or do you let off the gas?
Lastly, just DIVE in. Don’t think, just do. Start taking action.
Avoiding feelings of discomfort is often time associated with creating buffers in our life. A buffer can be the form of procrastination, consuming social media, eating (like I had shared the previous episode), anything that we do to try and escape our feelings can be viewed as a buffer.
And remember, people make mistakes all the time, they just might not tell you every time they do.
Until next time!