“You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.” — Anne Lamott
We all make mistakes — whether we like it or not, mistakes are part of our journey (and the sooner we learn to, well, learn from our mistakes, the sooner we learn something new about ourselves).
I believe that mistakes can be our best teachers.
They teach us how to be humble, how to evolve and why we should see our failures as a closer step to our next successes. Mistakes also teach us that regrets are nothing but the dead weight on our shoulders.
Every mistake is a lesson, and through my interviews, I learned a lot from the stories of incredibly successful women — so much so I thought I’d share some of my favourite lessons with you.
You cannot please everyone
Lorna Bornestein, founder of GROKKER, reminded me that when it comes to what matters, the most precious commodity is time because we can never get it back again — and none of us ever feel like we have enough of it.
“As a working mother of three, I was constantly having to choose between work and my family. I felt like I had to sacrifice things in my personal life in order to succeed at work. I think that was often a false choice.
For 20 years, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. so I could get a workout in before waking up the children to give them breakfast and see them off to school — and still be at work by 7:30. The biggest lesson I learned was you can’t please everyone all the time by thinking that you can.”
Reclaiming your genius. Doing more of what you truly love doing. Clearly outline where you are spending most of your time — and you’ll soon start realising you may be a victim of tyme dysmorphia.How ‘Time Dysmorphia’ Is Affecting Your Business on a Daily BasisWrite down everything you do to truly harness your zone of geniusmedium.com
Avoid the comparison trap and stop worrying about your competition
Comparison can be incredibly sneaky and affect us in ways we’d not imagine.
Sometimes we forget that business owners are first and foremost humans, and as such, we are not immune to worries about our competition.
Ella Wroath, founder of Soul Circle Festival, realised that her fears were a reflection of how she felt about herself:
“I believed at the time that there was not enough to go around, people would steal my ideas and customers and all my hard work would be destroyed by someone bigger and better. I was very insecure in my own abilities and I thoroughly believed that I was not special, and I did not deserve the success I had achieved. It came from a long-term belief that I was flawed, not good enough in many ways and lacked the ability to be a success.
I worried I was not “authentic” enough as a yogi, that I would be found out and it made me extremely guarded and territorial around my businesses. I caused myself stress and tension that manifested in my body as injuries and I indeed became unable to do yoga and live my life to the full. Obsessing over the very thing I was so worried about attracted more and more of it to me.
I have worked a lot on this personal idea I had over the last few years. I now understand that we are all created with our own individual gifts and talents. (…)There is no lack in this world, only a perception that there is lack. We convince ourselves we are not good or talented enough, we do not earn enough money, or we will surely fail if we try and follow our dreams.”
The truth is, if you are fully authentic in what you do, if you love it with all your heart and express yourself accordingly, then there will be no competition to being you.
You are the only person able to offer your unique gifts and it is your duty to the world to do so and bring joy to all who experience them.
Take the right steps to protect your business
Starting a business with someone else can be a tough move, yet there are ways you can make it work.
However, a lot of times it turns out to be more work than what we’d like to admit and a very important reminder that we should always protect our business ahead of big decisions.
Briana Borten, the founder of The Dragontree, shares her story on the matter:
“I think one of the biggest (mistakes), which ended up being one of the greatest lessons for me, was opening the Dragontree with a business partner I didn’t know well enough and didn’t have great agreements in place with beforehand.
I knew the spa treatment side well, but didn’t have the money, and jumped at the chance to have a partner who could bring some cash to the table. But we weren’t a great match, and we didn’t go through the process of talking out what our partnership would look like, who would manage what aspects of the business, or even where we envisioned the business going. As a consequence, it didn’t work out very well, and I bought out her side of the business after a year.
We tend to go into business partnerships when we’re still in the honeymoon phase without a prenup, and a prenup is pretty important. I think it’s so vital to lay out really clearly what the business will look like; to talk about what will happen if we don’t always like each other. What if we don’t always agree? Lay all of that out in legal language so that there’s a predefined path when (not if) it doesn’t go smoothly.”
In order to move forward in your business, you need to take accountability for what you do, mistakes and all — and if you are really wanting to start a business with someone, make sure you ask yourself the right questions.
What should you do the next time you make a mistake?
“Learning by making mistakes and not duplicating them is what life is about.” — Lindsay Fox
Learning how to pick yourself up from any mistake is the single skill that will create longevity in business, and fulfillment in life.
Instead of asking yourself “why is this happening to me?”, why not changing the question to “what is this teaching me”?