The fear of making mistakes is often paralyzing, but cognitive science suggests that errors are part of the fundamental machinery of learning. Kids show us the way from a very early age. And so does the ExO Sprint!
Is the fear of making mistakes getting in the way of your #mindset change? Getting rid of fears is a key part of transformation projects. Here is a simple model anyone can introduce in their teams to begin offloading fears of making mistakes.
If you are someone, who gets excited about changing things in the world, chances are that you are also good at taking action.
Change agents such as ExO Consultants and Coaches belong in this category. You may also, at a personal level, be good at implementing change in your life; getting more sleep, eating healthier, exercising more regularly, or shifting track in your professional life to something that connects more deeply to your Personal Massive Transformative Purpose are some of the common areas we tend to see as desired change.
But if you are brutally honest with yourself, more often than not, you get stuck, you make no progress, and your ideas never live to see the next day. People spend entire lives dreaming of a different career, admiring the look of well-trained people without ever getting their own pulse up, or perhaps your own inaction belongs in a different category?
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” -Henry Ford
We spent countless hours convincing ourselves that what can go wrong will go wrong (you heard if from Murphy first). We find reasons and excuses for not doing something. The human mind is full of anxieties and fears as if the external barriers to taking action were not enough. Many of these are related to making mistakes or straight out FAILING.
The fear of making mistakes is often paralyzing, but cognitive science suggests that errors are part of the fundamental machinery of learning. Kids show us the way from a very early age. Through play, they experiment their way through many iterations of solutions that turn out not to work until they find a way that does! But over time in life, we unlearn to play. Often we are told to stop playing and follow instructions. Now apparently, there is an expected answer we are expected to get to, and if you don't, you must have made a mistake, you have failed! Sounds relatable?
Atelophobia is an obsessive fear of imperfection.
But our world is complex, and the accelerating pace of change makes problem-solving hard. What used to work may no longer be a sustainable and useful solution. There are probably many different solutions, but what are the pro's and con's for each of them in the context of a problem you are trying to solve? To look differently at a problem, it's very helpful to shift the problem space. This helps us mentally to open up to look for very different types of solutions. Breaking out of the grip of scarcity and tap into the abundance of our world makes us see everything through a different lens. This is where the mindset change comes in. The change of organizational and personal mindset is a key objective of its own to successfully undertake a "Caterpillar-to-butterfly" type of transformation that leaves behind your scarcity-based limitations and issues. But the change everyone must go through is scary! It's hard to change!
During transformation Sprints, we re-introduce the concept of play again (because it's fun and we HAVE to). We practice experimentation and celebrate the great learning we acquire each time our experiments "fail." This is to shift our mindset away from being afraid of making mistakes and step-by-step train our mental muscle memory to take action often and avoid inaction. We discuss how experimentation actually reduces risk in many situations as opposed to make up a theoretical untested plan and ask the whole organization to start executing it.
So, the fear of failure has been programmed into us and this installation is successfully completed by the year we turn 12 years old.
At the July 2022 Festival of Consciousness in Barcelona, the OpenExO hosted Abundance dome closed out in an interactive way by reading through the fears of all participants shared in the opening session and discussing ways to overcome the fears in order to take abundance into the world. There were many who had shared their fear of Failure as a fear blocking people from tapping into abundance.
Through my own more than 7 years of facilitating mindset transformation in all types of organizations, I have seen many who found the following simple visual helpful to start "offloading" their own fear of making mistakes.
The expectations we have of each other is, that we achieve either FAILURE or SUCCESS as a result whenever we attempt something. That's giving us bad odds, I would say.
Instead, I propose you introduce the following reality model to your team, organization, school, and community: Every success has been preceded by a series of mistakes. MISTAKE, MISTAKE, MISTAKE, and THEN SUCCESS! That is how reality works, and if you make this one of your social and business ground rules in your tribe, you will quickly shift the mindset of your surroundings as well as your own, to accept the mistakes. This is an effective FEAR KILLER!
Try it out and let me know how it goes!