20 Lies We Believe #2: “Mistake Mean Failure”
December 30, 2016
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When you make a mistake, are you hard on yourself? Or when others make mistakes are you disappointed with them? Somehow, many of us have come to believe that mistakes mean failure.
“Mistakes mean failure.”
Have you heard the expression, “To make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs?” It’s the same with success and fulfillment. Mistakes are like eggs in your professional and personal omelette. And although we’ve heard that mistakes should be seen as learning opportunities, we believe in a lie that says mistakes are failures. One of the main reasons for this is we lose sight of the big picture (omelette).
When I coach people to monetize vision in business, I teach using Lean Startup principles. In Lean Startup, you plan for success but actually expect to make mistakes in a certain way. It teaches you to fail early, fail fast and fail cheap so you can achieve what is called “validated learning.” It is an iterative process.
Our lives should be iterative as well. Mistake don’t have to mean failure. If you approach mistakes properly, you can actually learn early, learn fast and learn cheap. Everything is iterative. Meaning that every cycle of mistakes creates a better version, very quickly, without losing sight of the end picture. This is not easy. I have personally made huge mistakes that cost me almost everything. When my first business failed because of my mistakes, I believed I personally was a failure as well.
I love drawing as you might be able to tell. But I don’t have time to commit to it like other full time artists do. In the beginning, when I started drawing again, I would try and complete a masterpiece every time. And every time I ended up seeing all my mistakes and considered that drawing a failure. What was worse were the hours I spent to end up with sub-par work from my opinion. Then I received some advice to try an iterative process. It made sense, just like Lean Startup. Instead of trying to draw an entire body, I quickly drew twenty sketches focusing on the face only. I planned to succeed but expected to make mistakes each face. But after twenty faces, the improvement was far superior then trying to nail a Picasso in one shot. For every image I upload to Instagram, there are dozens deleted that helped me learn early, learn fast and learn cheap to get there.
Try looking at your mistakes the same. Plan to succeed but expect to make mistakes. Learn early, learn fast and learn cheap.