Why I Don’t (Seem to) Care About Mistakes

by | Apr 10, 2009

I’ve always made mistakes. Until a few years ago, I did everything I could to avoid them. When I did make a mistake, I agonized over it. I would often stop doing what I was doing or abandon a project out of shame and worry.

One day I found myself emailing another coach (the late Thomas Leonard) to offer him my editing services. I was sick and tired of Thomas’s sloppy mistakes. It pissed me off that he was charging people money and acting like he was somebody even though his web sites and publications were riddled with errors.

I was looking for a way to frame my email that wouldn’t sound resentful, when I had an epiphany.

Thomas had a business. I didn’t.

Thomas was serving thousands of people, including me.

I was waiting until I knew what to say, how to say it, and could be sure people would like it before I made myself visible and available.

I had a choice: to be a writer or to be an editor, to build my own business or to work for someone else.

You already know what I chose.

I care about value, not perfection. I have an aesthetic preference for good grammar, proper punctuation, and correct spelling.

And I’ve decided to make delivering value my priority.

I used to wish I could deliver value and perfection. I don’t anymore.

These days I smile to myself and imagine that somewhere there is a writer or a coach or an artist sitting at the keyboard. They’re composing a complaint about my mistakes. And then it happens: my errors morph into a big honking permission slip.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.