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Learning from Mistakes



Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new – Albert Einstein

A couple of years ago Neil Gaiman gave his near year’s wish and asked his readers to make a lot of mistakes that year. Grand mistakes, epic mistakes, mistakes that will go down in the history books. His reasoning was if you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t trying. I kept that in mind but my year passed without epic mistakes, only small, boring mistakes.

The idea caught up with me this week as I learned a valuable lesson in mistaking making. I got some bad news earlier in the week from a potential client who didn’t want to hire me and an open house I helped plan belly-flopped. I was angry, sad, and a little embarrassed. I was annoyed at myself for not being perfect and not planning the perfect event despite the fact it was promoted heavily. I wanted to stick my head in the sand.

After a brief post belly-flop review we determined that sometimes you have to shoot an arrow into the dark and sometimes it lands and other times you miss. As I mull these experiences around in my brain, the perfectionist part of me keeps reviewing everything I could have done better and I can either let this hamster wheel in my brain spin and beat myself up or make a list and learn something. I’m choosing the list. One thing I did learn is that if you don’t put yourself out there (to make mistakes) you will never learn anything and thus staying inside yee olde comforte zone.

I will continue to make grand mistakes but next time, I’ll be a little more prepared. What about you? Tell me about your epic fails and how you learned from them.


About Anna Alexander

I get ideas. I write things. I sometimes follow through with those ideas. I also run long distances and live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband cat who lets us pay the mortgage on his house.

2 responses »

  1. Great job, miss! LOVE how you keep picking yourself up, dusting off, and attacking again. Yay for lists! It’ll get there. It sounds like you’ve entered quite a different market/venture than you’ve done before – and long-distance from the sounds of things – it’s going to take some time and some “epic fails” to get into any kind of rhythm with it. QUITE a learning experience. You’re definitely in process of this “self-made woman” thing – congrats!

  2. It takes a hefty bit of courage to open yourself up to admiting in cyberspace that you tried something and made a mistake……..and a grand mistake at that. That is a sign of a true professional and I am very proud of you for it!


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