Machen MacDonald: Success is a succession of mistakes
Anyone who has ever made anything great has paved the highway to their success with plenty of mistakes along the way.
On average, it takes 25 hours of film shot to make a 90-minute movie. It takes way more hours of rehearsing, prep and projects to capture the 25 hours of shot film. No matter which way you splice it, that’s more film on the cutting room floor (mis-takes) than in the can.
And so it is with just about everything else. What version is your current operating system on your computer? How many error codes were generated in the building of the OS or of a particular program it may be running? There is no straight path sans mistakes to creating greatness.
If you are not making mistakes you are not making anything.
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Being a recovering perfectionist myself, it takes some intentional effort on my part to put myself at risk of making mistakes that could lead to failure, embarrassment, or some kind of perceived loss.
To help myself get the mojo back in place to move forward I remember the word MISTAKE (Make It Simple To Advance Keenly Every time).
Here is my seven step process to increase my willingness to make mistakes so I can make great things:
You can’t use your car’s GPS to navigate a parked car. You must get in motion. I feel the fear and do it any way. Once I get myself in motion, I find the monster I was afraid of was made up of smoke and as I move forward through the cloud of smoke called fear it quickly dissipates away.
Intake the intel
As you move forward, you are going to get feedback on whether or not you are making the desired progress. A mentor of mine taught me mistakes and failures are simply feedback. It’s intel to let me know if I am on track or off track. Period. It’s time to get back on track.
Slow down to speed up
It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s not the best use of time, money and energy to keep making the same mistakes. Take the time to assess what went right and what could have gone better. Calibrate. Get back in motion as quickly as you can. Race cars need pitstops to win the race.
Trust the process and improve the standard
In this day and age of instant gratification we may fall victim to trying to rush the natural gestation period of a particular project or endeavor. Realize what the proven current process is whether it’s a sales cycle, production cycle or typical creation cycle. Plan accordingly. Follow the proven process and always look for how to improve the process by saving time, money and/or energy. Think horse and buggy to iron horse, to horsepower, to cars powered by electricity, to what’s possible next.
Keep track of what you are learning. What skills are you improving? What knowledge are you learning? How are you applying those skills and knowledge? Who are you becoming and what’s possible now as a result? Focus on progress not perfection. We are human we will make mistakes. We will fail. Be aware and avoid faking perfection.
Keep on keepin’ on
There are going to be switchbacks along the way to climbing the mountain. They may feel like failures when in fact they were necessary distinctions and lessons to advance to the next segment of the overall process. Hold on to the ultimate vision and when there is upset and adversity, move through it like you own the place.
Enjoy the journey as best you can
I believe we are on an ever-expanding journey. To learn more, do more, make more, contribute more and feel more. That’s my game. It doesn’t have to be yours. It may not always be puppies and roses. There may be heartache and seasons of despair. No one is immune from hard or difficult times. Refer to K above. However, where ever you find yourself on the path, make the time to enjoy it. Set up the rules of your game so you can win it.
This week my challenge for you is to fail forward fast by using these seven steps over and over and start paving your highway to your next success.
Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!
#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 530-273-8000.
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