This is a post about a problem I have. I want to learn new skills and try new things, but I’m so afraid of messing up that I feel like quitting before I even begin.

Whenever I make a mistake, every cell in my body cringes. I want to roll into a ball and hide when I think about how I might possibly will definitely, at some point in the near future, do something foolish. I hate how all my embarrassing moments parade across my mind as I’m falling asleep.

There’s so many fun memories just from when I worked in restaurants. Like the time I tripped on my shoelace and dropped a huge tray of wine glasses smack in the middle of the dinner rush. Or when I sat a party of two at separate tables on opposite ends of the restaurant, and they never met for their important business meeting. Or when I accidentally mixed an entire table’s margaritas with vodka instead of tequila. I could go on…

This post was originally titled “Things I’m looking forward to in 2022”

As I wrote the list, I felt more and more stressed. There’s a lot of room for error when trying new things.

I’m excited to start a new job as a preschool teacher. But am I ready to care for a dozen children at once? How many mistakes will I make? It crossed my mind that I could return to the familiarity of bartending. Although, that also used to be out of my comfort zone. The first night I stood behind the bar my hands were too shaky to pour from the bottles without spilling.

I’m happy because I’ve recently found a group of people who practice Ashtanga yoga together. They are way more advanced than me and when I practice with them I’m in a continuous state of being wrong. There’s nowhere to hide. I dread the physicality of making a mistake. Even though they have kindly welcomed me, I feel hesitant being such a beginner.

Blogging has also highlighted my fear of mistakes. I love writing. I love the wordpress community. Being still pretty new to this, it’s surreal when people read what I write and comment their thoughts. I feel so lucky to be here.

Yet last week I almost convinced myself to quit. I feel like I can’t keep up with my blogger friends. I don’t have as many good topic ideas, I get stuck trying to think of perfect replies to comments, often I read an incredible post and I can’t write a coherent enough response.

I’m so nervous about typing the wrong thing that I would rather not type ANYthing.

But I don’t want to give up. Because the only way to improve at anything, is to do that thing. In other words the only way to make less mistakes is to make more mistakes right now.

The next time I mess up on something new, I want to try reframing it as positive. It’s proof that I’m learning. How else will I do all the things I want to do if I’m frozen in fear of my next blunder, or fixating on all the things I’ve gotten wrong in the past?

So, my main new year’s resolution is to mess up in lots of fresh new ways. If I average five mistakes per day, I might even hit 2,022 mistakes by the end of the year. 😅

Like the legendary Coach John Wooden said: “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.”

40 thoughts on “2,022 new mistakes to make

  1. I struggle with embarrassment like this IRL. Old memories make me cringe constantly. A friend reminds me that other people don’t remember these moments so much. Also, anyone who judges isn’t wholesome enough for your company. I would like to hope that preschoolers hold their opinions about others’ mistakes loosely.

    I’ll take a chance as you said you’ve tried yoga – if you are into meditation and mindfulness, can I suggest the book “In Love With The World” by Mingyur Rinpoche, who takes a hard look at the relationship between mindfulness and self perception. It has many, many helpful reminders, and after each read I worry a little less about ego-hurting beliefs. It’s a constant work in progress though!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for the gracious reminder that other people rarely remember our embarrassing moments. And preschoolers remember least of all 😆 I don’t need to be so worried!
      Also I am going to read this book. Thank you for recommending it. I want to learn about how to be more mindful, less concerned with my ego, and all that good stuff. It’s a constant work in progress like you said, but luckily we’re not alone and there’s a lot of wisdom to help us.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I still cringe at my gaffes but as I have aged, I find it easier to not care so much about what I think others think. Because so many people are so concerned about their own actions that they rarely notice us as much as we think. Most people root for each other and love us for our humanity. Losing the fear is very liberating. My turning point was decades ago when I climbed up into the trampoline where my nieces were showing off and I became unintended comic relief. I overheard my wife up on the deck say to someone, “What I like about Geoff is he’s not afraid to make a fool of himself.” At first I was annoyed at being called a fool but I decided to embrace the idea that people could see it as a positive. Don’t stop writing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s comforting to know that even if the cringe never goes away completely, self-conscious will become less intense as we get older. Thank you for sharing this story of your trampoline moment. Your nieces thought you were the coolest uncle in the entire world because you were ok with being the comic relief. Being comfortable enough to make a fool of yourself actually is one of the best possible compliments.That’s indeed so liberating and just all around a more fun way to live life.
      Thanks for the encouragement to keep writing. I will!

      Like

  3. This is painfully relatable. I was just thinking about how my tendency to feel embarrassed very easily has held me back from so much. The thought of quitting blogging (or anything) shouldn’t even cross your mind! You’re doing great, you’ve now developed considerable following and your efforts should not turn into work-waste.
    It’s in learning new things that growth happens. Absolutely loved reading about your experience. Stay blessed, my friend. Wishing you happy New Year 2021!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much SamSahana, your words of encouragement put a big smile on my face😁
      The wordpress blogging community is definitely brighter because of you!

      It’s so true that being embarrassed and even the fear of potential embarrassment can hold us back. But, I feel optimistic that it won’t have to be that way in the future!! Happy new year to you too ♡♡♡

      Liked by 1 person

  4. the biggest growth in learning comes from making mistakes. give yourself permission to do so, and also tell your new class the same, it will be a gift to all of you –

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Beth. I appreciate the idea that being gentle with myself when I make mistakes would lead to being more compassionate with my students when they make mistakes. I hadn’t thought about it from this angle.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. it’s a very good thing for them to learn at a young age. I always make a point of telling them when I’ve made a mistake at school, and that all people, children, adults, teachers, parents, etc. do the same, that is how we learn and nothing bad happens.

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  5. Happy new year, Lizi! What an exciting year ahead for you and your teaching career! I can only imagine the butterflies you’re feeling in your stomach but that helps keep you focused and motivated too. Good luck!

    Making mistakes and reliving those mistakes can be a torturous cycle but people are generally forgiving – more so than we are to ourselves. But as you noted, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying. And all we can do is try.

    Good luck with all your many tries this year! 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ab, thank you so much for the good wishes!

      I kinda had this idea that once I am an adult I would “grow out” of making mistakes. Hah, not a chance! I realized the best case scenario is having opportunities to make new mistakes, so the sooner I get used to the feeling of messing up the better.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, Lizi. I am usually the only one who notices my mistakes and rakes myself over the coals. Other people? They see me with their hearts. They aren’t expecting perfection. In fact, they often appreciate my authenticity. Those children are going to love you… every child falls in love with their teacher, at least once, if not more! You’ll be fabulous. Just wait and see! <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement! Your authenticity shines through so brightly in your blog posts. 🧡

      It’s good to be reminded that we are truly our own worst critics – but it doesn’t have to be that way!

      Like

  7. This is a brilliant post! I am stunned and delighted that you worked out how many mistakes would add up to 2,022! Your commitment to keep trying is inspiring and beautiful. And the stories about restaurant work – hilarious and such a poignant reminder of the many mistakes I made when working in that industry.

    One of the best books I’ve read about perfectionism is “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Dr. Brene Brown. And from her research, she’s found that the way to give it up is to cultivate self-compassion. We mistakenly think that by allowing our inner critic free reign, she will keep us safe from the potential criticism of others. The problem is that no one would think that way about us. In fact, if we talked to ourselves the way we’d talk to our friends when they’ve made a mistake, we’d have a lot more self-compassion.

    As the mother of a preschooler, I can tell you that I’d happily have you as a teacher. Anyone so committed to trying and learning will be great at helping our little ones do the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Wynne! That really means a lot that you think I will be a good teacher 🥰

      I absolutely love Brene Brown however I have only read her book “Daring Greatly.” I want to read the one you recommended because that’s exactly the word I need to add to my vocabulary: self-compassion! That’s essentially what I was trying to say in this post. My inner critic works overtime and it’s getting ridiculous.

      Glad you enjoyed the restaurant memories, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just a few mistakes! 😆 Good times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember one Easter I had a table waiting for champagne. The restaurant was packed, all the champagne flutes were used. I spent 10 minutes going from station to station just to gather 4. Then when I delivered them (late because I spent so much time looking for the glasses), I tipped the tray towards the table, all the glasses fell towards the patrons, covering them with champagne and glass chards. :)

        One other great resource I’ve found is Dr. Kristen Neff who is a self-compassion researcher. Her site is https://self-compassion.org I can’t remember what podcast I heard her on but she has great perspective on how to develop the self-compassion we all need.

        Sending my best!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh my goodness 😆😅 Now that is a moment you won’t forget!! Hey… at least it wasn’t red wine spilled on the guests! Thank you for sharing.

        Also, I just check out Dr. Kristen Neff’s website and it’s so cool, I love this quote: “With self-compassion we mindfully accept that the moment is painful, and embrace ourselves with kindness and care in r esponse, remembering that imperfection is part of the shared human experience.” Definitely going to spend some time on this website 🧡

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I gave up worryng about making mistakes a while ago, and unless it’s a serious one (they rarely are), then I try to pole fun at myself for the mistake. And if you want to feel better about your blogging, all you have to do is read mine… :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems like humor is one of the best antidotes to worrying about mistakes. I might just become a comedian…

      And every time I log into wordpress you have new posts, I’m honestly trying to get on your level!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Horrible mistakes make the best stories. Turn everything bad into something good through the transformative power of art and humor, ie, I enjoyed reading your restaurant foibles. But I do relate big time. You future self will thank you for taking risks and having funny stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Another silver lining to making mistakes ! Next time I start berating myself I need to remember this. Transform the cringe to humor. It would be refreshing not to take myself so seriously 😁
      Thanks for your thoughts, always appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel your cringe! I used to be a perfectionist. It was exhausting. Now I’m perfectly imperfect and though I try to do my personal best, I also don’t hold myself to impossibly high standards. Some times my best is good and some times my good is good enough but often my “gave it my best shot” is what works… Hang in there and keep blogging. Write what is on your mind, what is in your heart, and what happened in the checkout line of the grocery store. There is always something happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your approach very much. It reminds me of the Four Agreements book, I remember one of the agreements is “do your best”. My challenge is to accept that my best is what it is, and not compare my best to others

      And thank you for the words of wisdom, I will indeed keep blogging and I’m grateful for bloggers like yourself who are so kind and welcoming. You’re right: stories are all around us. The only thing getting in my way is perfectionism!

      Like

  11. So true. Such a truthful picture that I can relate very well. I tried so hard to be correct but still I failed so often. Sometimes it feels like all the standards are erected to kick people like me out. However as years pass by, I’ve started to care less and less of what other people say and more and more about what I really feel about them. Now I have a completely different opinion from a 20-old-me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s comforting to know that getting older brings relief from caring so much what others think.

      I think blogging can sometimes reveal how much a writer cares about people’s opinions. Because writing is naturally so vulnerable. When I read your blog, I can tell you are writing straight from your heart and not trying to impress others. Which ends up being the most impressive 🧡

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for such a sweet encouragement. And I think I can identify the same thing from your blog as well. It is such a good catharsis to pour the heart out. I’ve never done confession since I am quite agnostic, but I imagine confession has the same kind of cathartic feelings.

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  12. One thing I’ve had to consciously remind myself of is if I do something that I’m embarrassed by I can be embarrassed for a moment and then I shove that feeling down- if anyone else even cared or noticed they don’t care anymore anyway. If it’s just being clumsy like tripping then who cares. But, if I did something embarrassing and there is something to learn from it then I think of what it taught me and most likely it’s a mistake I prob won’t make again. Mistakes are just lessons! Imagine a world where we make no mistakes- we’d just be stagnant in our lives never learning or improving bc then we’d be already perfect! And, try not to worry too much about your new job! Everyone gets nervous at new jobs! You will LOVE being around little kids- just look at them and their innocent joy to separate yourself from any anxiety. Kids and animals both help reduce anxiety for me, at least. I believe in you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for adding your wisdom to my post! Yes- so true that when it’s goofy little mistake we can feel the natural emotion of embarrassment temporarily, and realize it’s a reminder we’re imperfect humans. And if it’s a big mistake, then it’s a learning opportunity! So really, mistakes are a win-win. Love the perspective that a world without mistakes would be unbearably stagnant.
      I agree, kids and animals are the best for helping us find joy. It’s adults that create stress 😅😆
      Thanks for your wonderful comment 🧡

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much for reading and commenting your thoughts 🙂
      The minute we learn not to repeat one mistake, there’s an opportunity to make a new mistake. I like that word “progression.” It helps if we can see mistakes as a progression forward instead of being stuck in a loop.

      Liked by 1 person

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