As a society we don’t like mistakes. Woe betide a politician, sportsman or anyone else in the media spotlight who makes one. There will be no shortage of people lining up to tell you where you went wrong, and what the penance should be. The same thing happens to us all to a lesser extent with mistakes made in our everyday lives, at home and at work.
Must be mistaken
I struggle with making mistakes. A mixture of pride, perfectionism, the desire to please, as well as a host of other unhelpful emotions, combine so that, when the inevitable mistakes occur, I’m at best grumpy and at worst overly defensive or in outright denial.
Being the one in charge at work doesn’t make it any easier, it brings with it the inherent sense of letting everyone down.
For me 2014 was certainly a year with its fair share of mistakes. The one that really made me feel like a freezing cold lead weight had been inserted into my stomach was sending a confidential email meant for a colleague to a competitor – the result of not paying sufficient attention to Outlook’s automatic email suggestions.
It wasn’t the end of the world by any means, but it was made worse by the fact that this was repeating a mistake I’d made previously, albeit a few years ago.
That time, sleep-deprived and on paternity leave, I’d infamously sent an email from a client to a colleague asking for help as I hadn’t “got a clue what this guy is going on about,” only to discover I’d sent it straight back to the client himself. He had failed to see the funny side.
This time I have, however, been trying to go lightly on myself, despite the usual urge for self-flagellation.
My adventures with mindfulness have taught me that just accepting that we all make mistakes is a worthwhile experience. We all know that it’s impossible to be perfect, but it’s one thing knowing that on an objective level – it’s another thing entirely accepting our own fallibility as part of our everyday lives.