Learn from your mistakes and don’t worry about perfection.
A common theme that I get from my clients is that they want to be perfect when they do their public speaking. They want to be word-perfect; they don’t want to forget anything, and they do not want to make a mistake.
Many of them worry about mistakes, failure, and rejection when public speaking. They try and avoid failure and when it happens, they take it personally and see it as a setback in trying to achieve their speaking goals.
I encourage them and I encourage you to adopt a mindset of “no mistakes – just lessons”. We can learn from our mistakes and there are no perfect speeches. A scientific mind would see this as Continuous Improvement or refining a prototype or new idea. So why do people who try and improve their public speaking worry about making a mistake?
We all know that mistakes are fundamental to our learning. As we try new things and push the boundaries to try and improve our speaking confidence, we are bound to have some failures. But it is what we do with these failures that is more important. We can analyse them, adjust our strategy, get feedback, and try again. Who remembers trying to learn to ride a bike? How many times did you fall off? But you kept getting back on until you mastered the bike. The same goes for public speaking, you need to keep getting back on the bike, trying again, getting feedback and learning from it. This is mindset of no mistakes, just lessons.
Learning is a process of self-discovery. Learning is not a straight-line curve that goes steadily up. Rather learning is a series peaks and troughs, of failures and successes that over time gradually trend upwards to a position of greater knowledge, greater experience and better (Not Perfect) public speaking.
Dr Susan Jeffers describes these ups and downs as those “oops moments”. The kind of thing we would say to our child when they fall of their bike, – “oops”.
My new philosophy and mindset is that; “there are no such things as failures or mistakes, just opportunities and lessons from which we can grow. This philosophy is supported by others including.
- Stephen Lundin,
“We learn little from success, but we learn much from failure”
- John Powell
“The only mistake we make in life is the one that we don’t learn from”
- Kieth Ferrazzi
“Behind every successful person stands a long string of failures; toughness and tenacity can overcome these setbacks”.
So let’s adopt the no mistakes mindset and learn from our lessons. Lets forget about trying to be word perfect and perfect in our presentation. Instead the next time you stand up to speak, realise that there are no mistakes, just lessons from which you can learn and become a stronger and more engaging speaker.