March 24, 2009

Being wrong

In my recent guest post on Chris Spagnuolo's Edgehopper blog, I talked about some of the things that inspire my blog posts and presentation activities. One comment I received on Facebook in response to the question "What inspires you?" was "Being wrong."

I loved this answer, because so many of us are deathly afraid of making mistakes. Especially mistakes in our professional lives, which might somehow tarnish our stellar reputation as an expert. We're so concerned with being judged, or criticized or being exposed as an impostor, that we avoid taking risks, avoid stepping out of our comfort zone, and we end up playing it too safe.

Making a mistake can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It can also be a valuable learning experience. When we make a mistake or discover we're wrong in some way, we figure out how to do things better the next time. If you never make mistakes (and who never makes a mistake?), or don't know you're making mistakes, you don't grow.

Most of us hate being wrong. But if you take heed of my friend's comment, that being wrong inspires her, you might consider how being wrong can sometimes be a good thing. Inspiration comes when you least expect it. Why not take a situation that feels bad, and turn it into something good by learning and growing from it?

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Cheryl Pickett said...

Thanks for posting this Lisa. The fear of being wrong has been a roadblock for me throughout my life. Working on changing that, it's not easy, may be a work in progress for the rest of my days who knows.

Though I've long understood looking at mistakes as a learning experiences, can't say I've ever thought of them as inspiring. Going to try to keep that in mind. If it works, I'll let ya know.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Cheryl. I think the trick here is to actively pursue the learning that comes from making a mistake. We want the mistake to go away, but the learning might not come automatically. We need to make a commitment to analyzing (not dwelling on!) the mistake for its lessons.

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