You Need To Make Mistakes to Succeed
By Erica and Karen
We all make mistakes. That's a given, especially when confronting new challenges. How we deal with them will determine whether they help us succeed, and that seems largely to depend on gender.
Men are not afraid they will make mistakes. Indeed, they are sure they will. They see a mistake as a lesson learned, a challenge, an experience. Nothing to do with their innate ability. Mistakes do not affect their confidence. They will get it right next time. They will be forgiven for acting boldly.
For women, it is an entirely different story. We too often live in fear of mistakes. We equate mistakes with failure, and failure--and therefore mistakes--are not an option. We do everything in our power to avoid them--we work harder, and more diligently, keeping our heads down, just to avoid a mistake. Then, when the inevitable happens, we feel as if we have failed. We are disappointed in ourselves, and we expect others to be disappointed in us too. Our confidence diminishes. We become afraid of making another mistake, and so we make the big one--we shrink from new challenges. We are not forgiven for that, and certainly not seen as bold.
Success is largely a confidence game. Much has been written about why girls and women lack the confidence that comes so easily to our male brethren. Whatever the reason, those of us who have had years in the working world should help break this cycle by reminding the girls and young women in our lives that a mistake is just a decision that turns out to be wrong. It's usually not negligent. It's never intentional. It’s a mistake. And like men, we are bound to make many of them.
Now that we are retired, and embarked on a new venture, facing challenges that are different from those we faced before, we constantly remind each other that we are bound to make mistakes along the way to success. Indeed, we have made quite a few with the gestation of Lustre. But we learned from our careers that we can't avoid mistakes, we just need to understand them and address their consequences so we won't make the same ones again. Then, we move forward.