How to not let a mistake ruin your day...or week!
Today I dropped a clanger. A real hum dinger. And an expensive one.
It’s really knocked my confidence and I feel like a total (TOTAL!) moron to be honest. I fell for one of those too good to be true stories. The kind you hear other people falling for and you think “what an idiot, I’d never do that.” Well, I did. I have.
As I try to rectify the monetary fall out of being taken in, which may or may not will work out... it is the emotional fall out which, I know from experience, is going to be the harder work. It's the picking up of little me from the floor.
“Don’t beat yourself up about it” is what my other half said, along with “you are not a moron.” It’s what we would all say to someone when they too make a mistake. But why is it we find that part so very hard to do for ourselves? My Judge inner critic is having an absolute blast. He has rolled out his soap box and is now atop it, frantically gesticulating at my utter naivety and stupidity. Some of the names being chucked about aren’t particularly friendly. He is especially focussing on all the experience and expertise (ahem commercial expert argh!) that should have assisted me in this scenario – he’s bloody loving it – fuelling imposter syndrome central and bludgeoning self-belief and self-confidence into a pulp.
Along with old judgey, I have along for the ride a very upset tummy, a general sense of knotted tension, nausea, and that hot clammy flush that you feel creep over you when the realisation is made that you’ve cocked up. And then, if that were not enough, the gnawing worry and doom spiral of thoughts that present in answer to our own self judgement.
It’s a very familiar feeling- in that I used to spend a lot of time here, often over very minor topics, that in no way warrantied this level of worry and over thinking. If we aren’t conscious of this, we can so easily drop into autopilot and wallow here longer than we need to.
So, my friends, enough. How can we help ourselves here? How can we interrupt this well practiced cycle and step off this treadmill of doom? For me today, this requires a deep dig into the toolbox.
· Resilience: I am resilient. You are resilient. We shall weather this moment, and it will pass. We all have an inner, innate strength. Through coaching I have a character that represents mine and I reminded to call on that strength and wisdom now, understanding that a mistake does not make us stupid, it does not diminish us, and it certainly does not define us.
· Awareness: we can choose to stay present and notice and name what’s going on. I notice shame for me (that’s a gut punch right there). I notice regret. I notice frustration, indignation, anger. I notice feeling small. I notice my pride, my ego is hurt. And I notice old judgy pants.
· And breathe. Actually, we often don’t breathe properly when we are in a flap. We take too shallow breaths as the body prepares for fight, or more often – flight. So, some conscious deep breaths to stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system, promoting calmness. Which let’s be frank, we need if we are going to move forward and sort things out.
· Be aware of catastrophising: Are we really in a life or death situation? Almost always not. And yet, when we catch the story we are telling ourselves you may be mistaken into believing that we are. We also are very good at the story that everyone else is watching, and judging, which perpetuates our own judgemental thought patterns. Most people are too busy dealing with their own stuff to be worrying about yours. Be realistic about how big a deal where you are really is. My mistake is not going to ruin my business or my reputation – not even sharing it in a blog will!
· Be equally aware of generalising: This sort of stuff always happens to me. Nothing is going right at the moment. This is just typical of me. I attract this sort of stuff all the time. I’m a failure/ an idiot…insert your own. No. We have made a mistake. Yes, we have made them before and we will make them again, but we also have more in between times when we don’t, when things go well. Where there is joy.
· Find the positive: I challenge you! For me? A blog that has just flowed out of my fingers, where I am so in the moment of my emotions that I can explain them with clarity. An opportunity where I can share that we are all human, that nobody has got it all sussed, that we are all working it out as we go. Time to make me confront what’s happened and process it in a positive way.
· What’s the learning? And “don’t be a moron again” doesn’t count. Mine is that I didn’t listen to my gut. Right there in the moment it had a twinge and I noticed it… and yet I ploughed on. I thought I knew better than that. So, I must humbly learn again that gut knows… and it tried to tell me. What can I do next time to ensure I pay attention and take pause to reflect?
· Move: physical movement. It really does jolt our minds from story. I am hitting the yoga mat later and as an interim I moved away from my desk and then a cat found me. I’d like to say Ron sensed my distress and came to offer support. But he’s a cat – he came because he wanted something, but hey the result is the same 😊
Mistakes. We’ve all made them. We are destined to make thousands more in our lives. Don’t let them rule your mind. Decide your own narrative. Acknowledge, accept, learn… let go.
Wish me luck as I head off to attempt recovery of the dosh!
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