Mistakes

You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need anymore of that sound.
— Mary Oliver from, The Poet with His Face in His Hands

Several years ago, I made a huge mistake on a printed piece that cost the organization I was working for money - and cost me months of restful nights of sleep. I felt sick about it. And so nervous about screwing up again that it killed my joy for that job. Ugh.

We all know mistakes happen. So when they happen, can you move beyond them?  Because it's not about the mistake, it's of course about what happens after the mistake. And it's only sort of about the lesson that you learn from it; it's more so about leaving the mistake behind.

I was working with a client recently who was haunted by a mistake. She - like all of us do sometimes - blanked when she was up on stage. And now, all of our work revolves around helping her shore up that fear. We avoid memorizing so there isn't anything to blank on. We focus on outlines and key topics. We improvise. We remind ourselves that this is supposed to be fun!  That last one is especially important. Don't let your mistakes ruin the wonderful possibility of success that can only happen when we leave that mistake behind.

I used to believe that 50% of speaking was mental.  Years later, I think it's closer to 80%. Can we let the mistakes of the past stay in the past, and not follow us up on stage to haunt the new audience in front of you?

We all make mistakes. When it's our mistake, it doesn't feel like we all make them - just me. So we cry aloud - and the echo of that mistake bounces around inside our heads. And we just don't need anymore of that sound, do we?