Is it easy for us to admit our mistakes?

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Last Updated on March 24, 2019 by Lucie Klabanová

(For czech version of the post click here.)

I often see it. The fear. The worry to face it and admit to everyone and mainly to myself, that this I do not know. That I ruined this. That I made a mistake.

Like if that was something punished by death.

I do remember the feeling well myself. Humiliation, nothingness, vanity. When I wanted to answer a question, I thought I knew the answer for, approximately in a second school year. According to the teacher I did not know it, at least not the right answer. But it was rather about the way of telling me I was wrong. Why it was not enough to say: “No, it is not right.”? Why she had to laugh and say: “Oh, come on. What a silly answer!”?

Do you see the difference? Do you feel the difference?

So, when thinking where does the reluctance and fear to admit our mistakes come from, I have to think of that approach – from school, or maybe even someone at home.

I was lucky, because my parents “supported” me in making mistakes. Not that they would praise me for making some foolishness. :-) But they encouraged me to admit whatever I have done, accept the punishment and most importantly they always explained in detail the reasons.

I do remember one situation. I could have been around third class, I was daily walking home alone. That afternoon my parents were supposed to come late. And so, I decided to stay at my friends house after school. We were chatting and I came home 2 hours later than usual.

Unexpectedly, my parents changed plans. And they were at home. To make you understand, in times with no mobiles, telephones. Nowadays I can imagine very well their feelings in those two hours when they did not know where I was. That day I did not think about it at all. When I came home two hours late smiling, I received a very long lesson (oh gosh how I hated them) and of course a punishment. For not keeping my word – to go directly home from school.

Since than I never went somewhere else, then I said. It had one big advantage, though. I could go wherever, only had to say it. :-)

That learning taught me that whatever I will vitiate, I do not have to be afraid to admit it. Even knowing the punishment will follow.

People learn by mistakes.

People are made to learn by mistakes. Every child is learning to walk by trying to stand up, falling down and trying again, differently. This is the human nature: learn from mistakes and do not repeat them.

But how can we learn if we do not concede our own mistakes? If we do not name them? When we do not think about the reason they happened?

In business this fear seems to be even deepened. Why actually? Are we afraid that if we admit we made something wrong, our boss will immediately fire us? And he never made any mistake? Is there someone who has never done any error? Is there anyone who knows everything? Hardly. Maybe there are those who think so or pretend so. Poor them.

I often say that a boss who admits his own mistakes, as well as accepts the responsibility of errors of the whole team, gets respect. It works the same in other working circles, too. The one, who is openly acknowledging something is wrong, has respect and admiration of his colleagues, who might not have the same courage in similar situation.

We are humans.

Making mistakes is human. Let’s be humans first and learn from mistakes. Let’s be brave and honest. Admit our own faults. And let’s silence all those who will try to dig too much into our errors rather than their own. They do make mistakes, too!

Let’s be honest mainly to ourselves – identify our faults, describe them, look for possible solutions. Only then we will have a good feeling about us. We will be proud of ourselves even when we made some mistake.

Because as Simon Sinek said: True strength is the courage to admit our weaknesses.

I am a mentor, leader and pioneer of business process improvement. I help companies and individuals to find effective ways to achieve their goals. More about me you can find here>>

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