Failure and Mistakes, part of a balanced breakfast

In every mistake comes an opportunity for growth: and if we aren’t growing, we’re dying. – Me

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Shocking, I know. I wouldn’t say that perfectionism is my particular character flaw, because I don’t desire to be perfect. Nothing is perfect – logically, I know it’s not attainable. In the quest for as-close-to-perfect-as-possible, I spend far too much time overthinking every possible outcome of a choice or scenario. Instead of just DOING. And trying. And, failing.

Fear of failure is my hubris.

That’s an ironic thought: this idea of failure connected to hubris, especially for someone who has been labelled “arrogant” and “overconfident” in the past. I’ve woven those labels into a shield to protect my heart from criticism. But that shield is getting heavy.

I love trying new things and expanding my horizons, but if I’m not immediately good at that new thing, I quit. I can’t handle it. I am not successful at making the mistakes I need to make in order to grow.

I think this is a common sentiment. Think about it: how easy is it to sit at home, doing the same old things with the same old people? It’s scary putting yourself out there and trying new things.

What if it’s awkward.

If it’s awkward, you’re uncomfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, it might be a mistake. If it’s a mistake, then why the hell did you even give it a go in the first place. Sound familiar?

And to that, I just say: so what.

Go ahead. Tell me how awful it is to have an awkward interaction at the grocery store with the cashier. Tell me how you’re stuck at your boss’s holiday party with nobody to talk to, so you’re just standing there in the corner and you look like an idiot. Tell me how much you want to take up knitting, or photography, or sailing, but you’ll just suck at it, and everybody else will already be good at it, so there’s no point in even trying.

So what.

Do you think the cashier is going to remember how awkward you were? Do you think anybody is really going to be standing around at that party thinking, wow, look at her standing there, all alone. Do you really think anybody will care if your very first knitted scarf is a little crooked, or if your first few photos are beautiful compositions of the inside of your lens cap?

No.

Let’s put it this way. Put the thing down, flip it, and reverse it.

Think back to a scenario in your life in which you were the comfortable, resident expert, and somebody new came around. Maybe there was a new kid in class, or a new colleague at work. Would you think back about your interactions with that person like, “Oh wow, this new person is such a dummy. They don’t know anything.” Of course not. And if you did, well, I’m here to tell you that you’re a jerk, and you need to get your shit together.

I ride horses on the weekends. I’m not some grand expert or anything; I just take a lesson once a week. I *love* watching beginners ride, because you know what? They bring out all of those feelings of exhilaration and novelty that I had when *I* was learning, all those years ago. Watching them make mistakes shows me that there’s always room to learn, because we learn by making mistakes. And, honestly, watching a beginner reminds me that maybe I *do* know what I’m doing after all (This is very helpful during times when I feel like everything I do is terrible and I’m not good at anything).

This post was originally supposed to tell the story about how I screwed up a bunch of job proposals yesterday. I made some pretty embarrassing mistakes. I sent proposals with blatant grammatical errors and typos. I was rushing, careless, and I thought that I could just charm my way through them, as I have in the past. The good news? I’ll never actually know if the typos and errors cost me the gigs. I could be quietly rejected for other things (definitely not my sparkling personality, obviously).

But you know what? I put myself out there. I went for it. I did the thing. I’ll just proofread my proposals more carefully next time, because I need to learn from my mistakes. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn something new, and to grow.

The lessons that stick with us the most are often the ones we learned the hard way.

So, what about you? Have you learned anything from an embarrassing mistake? Tell me all about it.

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Let’s talk about product reviews

I need to tell you something.

It’s embarrassing.

Are you ready?

I got paid $10 to write a blog post about bunion massagers. BUNION. MASSAGERS. Foot massagers, for your feet, that will feel nice on your bunions.

There are people on the internet willing to pay freelance hacks – And I say hacks because they’re paying $.01/word, which was the going rate in the 90’s – to make up reviews about bunion massagers. Of course, they don’t actually want you to invent the reviews, but stealing them off of Amazon is enough. I’ve also done reviews on electric blankets and wheelchair ramps. Honestly, I don’t have any moral qualms with this because hell, there are people looking for bunion massagers. I’m not here to throw shade at any of those people. I managed a shoe store for five years. I know how much that shit hurts.

But, it’s a symptom of a larger problem.

We have lost the art of sales. Between terribly written review posts, shady MLM companies, and everybody and your mom trying to get your coin, the world is a hot mess out there. And I hate it.

Trust no bitch.

Let the record state, right here and right now, that I am here for you. I am here to guide you. First and foremost. I’d like to make a little coin in the process, sure. And here’s where things might get sticky.

See, the thing is, I like recommending products. I like shopping. I like stuff. Despite my minimalist habits, I love a good throw pillow. I love being able to tell people “hey, I got this thing, and if you’re looking for this thing, this is a good one.” Because I don’t want people to waste their money on dumb things they don’t need. But, I’m going to do product reviews on this blog. It’s going to happen. And there will be links, and it might sound like I’m trying to sell you something.

I’d like to reiterate the following points:

  • You don’t need any of it.
  • Don’t buy something you don’t need.
  • I stand behind every damn thing I recommend.
  • I just want to share cool things with people.
  • Do your own research.

Anyway, that’s it. I’m not going to put a disclaimer on any product review that I do, because I’m going to give my honest impression of whatever it is, regardless. If you don’t want to buy a thing, then don’t. When in doubt, don’t. But if you’re going to….then click my links. If you found the review valuable, then click the link. If you just want to fund my kids’ poptart habit, click the link.

Have a different day.

This is Where Words Go

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Einstein. Probably.

Human beings are creatures of habit. We love our routines. We set alarms for the same time each day, we eat the same three breakfasts in rotation, we stop at the same gas stations and coffee shops. We take the same routes to work, meet the same friends for lunch, go to the same restaurants for dinner. We watch the same episodes of Friends or The Office, and laugh at the same jokes every time.

I like habits. I like routines. After I had my kids, routines and habits saved my sanity. Making lists and setting schedules cleared my mind for other things. Other things like worrying and obsessing about the minutae of day-to-day life: which bread should I buy, what time should we leave the house in order to miss both the school bus and the garbage truck, how many vegetables should I put on my kids’ plates, etc, etc, etc.

My routines and habits were supposed to make my life simpler and easier, not bog me down with uncomfortable obsessive thoughts.

I can’t help it, though. Mentally, I’m a dog with a bone. I get an idea in my head and it just can’t be stopped, not until I’ve seen it through or moved on to the next. And sometimes, this mentality is a destructive force as much as it is motivating.

So, I decided to make a change. A few months ago, I was inspired. The idea came to me, as most of my good ideas do, in the shower.

How would my life change if I did something differently every day?

Me

I think I was reading Mark Ronson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck at the time. No, not Mark Ronson. That’s the famous record producer. Mark Manson. That’s the guy. Anyway, if you haven’t read Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and you don’t mind a little (or a lot) of cursing, then give it a whirl. I recommend it, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Anyway, Mark’s book is all about a “counterintuitive approach to living a good life.” The table of contents contains a bunch of really optimistic titles like “Don’t Try” and “You are Not Special.” It’s really quite good. If I could give a summary of the whole shebang, it would be “Do Something.”

“Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that. But the sentiment is powerful. Mel Robbins wrote a whole book on the premise that you can find success in five seconds: all you have to do is count backwards from 5, and then go do the thing. You should check that one out too: It’s called The Five Second Rule (and there’s a lot less cursing).

The point is, motivation is created. You don’t just reach out and grab little motivation modules as they fly around your head in the morning. YOU motivate yourself to get something done. But I realized that I wasn’t lacking in motivation. I could check things off my list, and get out of bed, and get things done.

I was just bored.

More bored than I have ever been in my entire life. And let me tell you, I love doing nothing. That movie? Office Space? Speaks to me on a fundamental level. I am one lazy mofo, and if given the choice to go do something or sit around and do nothing, I would love to just sit around and do nothing. Unfortunately, I’m not actually wired that way (not to mention, I’ve got all those annoying things like children and responsibilities and needing money).

This blog is supposed to be a remedy for that.

The idea is simple. Do something different every day, and talk about it. Really, I need to practice writing, so that maybe one day I’ll actually get paid for it. But I’m tired of struggling and doing things I don’t want to do. Right now? Right now, what I want to do is tell a story every day: a story about how I changed one little thing every day, and what happened as a result. Maybe it’s as simple as saying yes when I usually say no, when my kids are bugging me for a snack. Maybe it’s changing into an actual outfit instead of wearing yesterday’s yoga pants. Maybe it’s actually putting away my laundry instead of piling it on the “clean chair pile.”

Or maybe I did some research on something weird and wonderful, and I wanted to share it with you. I don’t know. Good luck following along. Remember, this is supposed to be fun for me, not you.

And that’s it. I’m changing it up daily. I hope you made it through all that and thought it wasn’t terrible. If so, please leave a comment, so that other people can also find it not-terrible too.

And finally, I pose the question to you: What are you changing today?

(Please note: This post contains affiliate links. You click, you buy, I get money. If you’re gonna throw it in your cart anyway, give me a click and be my friend forever kthxbye.)