We are all human–meaning, by definition, we all make mistakes, we can’t do everything perfectly, and some things we can’t do at all. But are these things we can’t do well, or can’t do at all, just mistakes or weaknesses, or are they the product of personality hard wiring? If they are hard-wired, berating ourselves for our mistakes is futile.
For instance, I don’t have the skills to change the oil in my car, so I take it to a mechanic. Instead of getting frustrated at my inability to organize my office and keep it clean, I hire someone to help me.
The funny thing is, I wouldn’t think about beating myself up because I can’t change the oil in my car, but I do occasionally get very frustrated that I need help organizing my office. These weaknesses/mistakes both spring from the same place, though–the place where I’m human and can’t do absolutely everything perfectly.
Below are some scenarios that would be considered mistakes. I’m proposing that these come not out of being bad or defective, but as by-products, or even the flip side of strengths you already possess.
Can you see yourself in any of these scenarios?
- Not returning phone calls in a timely way because they intrude on your downtime.
- Meeting people at networking events, making a connection, then not following up.
- Cutting prices on your services without calculating the effect beforehand.
- Jumping on the bandwagon of whatever is popular right now (Groupon? Living Social? Or even social media like Facebook or Twitter), before figuring out whether it will work for your particular business.
- Putting up with unacceptable behavior from employees or vendors (or customers!) because you don’t want to rock the boat.
- Not having a process for repetitive tasks so you have to recreate the wheel every time you do the task again.
- Not checking your work i.e., not quality control process.
- Getting lost in the day-to-day work and forgetting to look up to see what might be on the horizon.
- Having a hard time listening to opinions from other people who don’t agree with you.
- Having such high standards for perfection that no one can meet them, even you.
If you recognize yourself in any of these situations, I’m guessing the recognition comes with a dollop of self-condemnation or criticism.
What would it be like if instead of beating yourself up, you approached these less-than-skillful behaviors with the same attitude I bring to changing the oil in my car? That instead of criticizing yourself, you just find someone to help you?
How do you handle areas in your life where you are less than skilled? Comment below.