The quest for perfection can become one which takes more away from life than adds onto it. Perfectionists become obsessed with achieving perfect results. These results can be related to work tasks, athletics, or even the conversations they get into. This obsession with perfection can increase the pressure under which people operate. If you’re managed by someone who is obsessed with achieving perfect results, your output will never impress but will become an expectation. This article aims to provide some insight into how to utilize mistakes to relieve the pressure of unrealistic expectations and to derive benefit.
Every Mistake Should Shine Light on a Lesson Missed
When dealing with high expectations from others, your mistakes will be viewed as wasteful. The process of making mistakes is generally a path most try to veer away from. You have the capacity to upset those who hold a stake in the work you’re doing when you make a mistake, and can serve to put a dent in your own reputation. Someone who consistently makes mistakes is not an image anyone would want to uphold. However, when expectations are too high, timelines too tight, and the workload unrealistic, the mistakes you make can be used to relieve the pressure that you and others around you are under. These pressures are relieved by teaching everyone involved a lesson. The mistakes you should be making are ones that others would have made if they were in your position. They should realize how the pressure everyone is under would have affected them in a similar way, and should be interested to learn something from the mistake that you’ve made.
The mistake you make should be connected to the undesirable working conditions (pressure) others are under. It should remind everyone else that humans cannot be expected to be perfect, and it should be a breath of fresh air for those who fear deviating from perfection. Especially if you’re in a position of leadership, making a mistake and being open with that fact can relieve pressures your subordinates are under. Rather than allowing the pressure to be perfect to build until more impactful errors are made, allow there to be small mistakes which everybody learns from. Allow people to see imperfection at play, and to realize its role in achieving the perfect result.
The Fear of Making Mistakes
The mistakes you and others make should be used to eliminate the fear of making a mistake. Mistakes which teach everybody lessons should be encouraged to be brought to light. These mistakes will improve output going forward while lessening the pressures that others are placed under. Even if you’re not in a position of leadership at work or in life, you can serve to relieve the pressure by owning and advertising certain mistakes which humanize the people doing the work at hand. Though there are people who thrive under intense pressure, the majority of the population you will work with won’t. These people need to be shown that mistakes are opportunities rather than failures. They should come to understand that mistakes are to be expected and are not the end of the world. In result, they will operate on an understanding that mistakes are a part of living and will fear making them less.
Be careful of being too casual with your treatment of mistakes – but you shouldn’t vilify them either. Mistakes should be mitigated strategically and at once. The perception, rather than the treatment, of the mistakes that come about is what this article is about.
Learning lessons from your mistakes and packaging those lessons for your whole team to understand will eliminate the perception of mistakes being a waste of time. Others will first sigh a breath of relief in the face of someone else’s mistake (for not making one themselves), and then will be tuned in to learn what went wrong. Do not be afraid to allow others to sigh that breath of relief. Allow others to use your mistakes as examples of humans’ imperfect nature, but make sure you’re not perceived as an example of humans’ ability to fail. Try to balance the act of relieving the pressures others are under with the productive nature of learning from one’s mistakes.