Thursday, 12 March 2020
In the latest of our It’s About Time series of posts, Vicki Roskams of Flintshire-based training and recruitment firm Enbarr Enterprises & Foundation says, It's Ok to Make Mistakes.
I ran my first engagement workshop many years ago on behalf of my friend. It was with a few people in my friend’s living room, and when I look back now, I can see what a petrifying situation that was. It was the first time I had combated one of my disabilities and talked in an open forum.
I can see it clearly in my head now. It was pretty bad. I apologised throughout: "I'm sorry this is so bad!" My hands shook and I fumbled my words. But many years later, I giggle when I recall this to others, as it lets them see that mistakes can happen. I will continue to make mistakes as I push through my condition, challenge myself and others, and drive for what I believe in. If I fall along the way, I will brush myself off and get right back up again.
I was glad I decided to do that first workshop from my friend's couch to a select bunch of people, as I had people who picked me up instead of knocking me down. This is imperative for people starting out, to know no matter what happens someone is going to help them regardless of the risks they take.
So, my advice for anyone starting a new business or something similar, here are four things to keep in mind:
- Don't be afraid to let mistakes happen
Let them happen. There is no perfect route. We can't learn without stumbling (a little) and sometimes falling.
I see many business start-up webinars with the tagline: "Let me share my mistakes, so you don't make any!" It's great to learn from people who are further ahead, but we need to make mistakes; it's what makes us human and it helps our personal growth.
So, learn from the experts or the people who are further ahead but don't mistake this for "never doing anything wrong". Ask one of them honestly and I am sure they will have a story to tell.
If you're starting something exciting and hoping to never make a mistake, you'll have a shock when the inevitable occurs. Instead, be open to it, and prepare your mind for infinite opportunities.
Think of the 3 P's
- Potential - Look at the possible mistakes that could happen
- Prepare - an assessment of how you would address that situation
- Prosper – Look at how you can learn and grow from the experience
- Appreciate the risk you're taking
Not everyone risks new experiences.
Whether it's a new hobby or attending an event on your own, know that there are people who won't put themselves through it. They're too scared, and they will constantly make excuses.
I find it remarkably hard sometimes with my conditions to travel and attend things as anxiety sets in. If you meet me, I come across as confident, but for this to happen I must always plan as I can sometimes perceive the world around us as a very overwhelming and challenging place. That is because my condition has a different way of sensorial processing of information. I also have the support of some amazing people who tell me: "You’ve got this."
Acknowledge the risk you're taking with your new venture. The courage and strength it takes to push yourself and to keep going are tough, so give yourself credit, and when you see others needing a little support reach out your hand.
Starting a business is hard and can be a lonely place, and you might not be in the right mindset all the time.
Give yourself a pat on the back, forget about "winning" and focus on "doing".
- Know that everyone goes through making mistakes
Every single person who created something amazing (a wonderful relationship; a close and loving family; a thriving business) made mistakes along the way. They messed up, they did things wrong and they allowed themselves to learn in order to come out stronger.
My favourite story is about one of our greatest inventions. Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer discovered microwave cooking by accident when, as he stood in front of an active magnetron, a chocolate bar in his pocket began to melt. He tried popcorn kernels – and they began to pop. The microwave oven had been born.
Think about anyone you admire: do you think they made mistakes along the way? Did they fall and get back up again? Of course, they did.
- Ignore the judgers
There will always be people who look at what you do, without knowing much (if anything) about your situation and comment or pass judgment.
The funny thing is that most of them do it from the side-lines; they don't get involved in the game themselves.
In my twenties, I knew what I wanted to do and had my whole life mapped out; then I became injured. This experience was vital to learn what worked for me, how to grow, to make me take a long, hard look at myself and see what I could offer. I grew from it and took another path to assist people.
Running my own business was never part of my plan. But when things didn’t work out for me in my employment I took a risk, bought a building at auction, begged the bank to invest in my dream, and got family and friends to invest in me, which in essence created three new businesses in one.
It is not easy out there, and just when you think you have it, you hit a dip and must learn to pivot. We still all make mistakes from time to time, but it's how we learn from them that sets us on the path we're on today.
Failures or mistakes force us to prioritise what we want out of life, encouraging us to try new things, experiment and dare to explore new paths.
One thing is for certain, failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it. In fact, it is our:
The It’s About Time series of blogs and articles are designed to inspire, inform and educate through the stories of women (and men) who are finding their own routes to professional and personal success. It is put together by Gemma Collins, NatWest Cymru’s business growth enabler for Cardiff. It’s About Time is an initiative developed by NatWest Cymru in conjunction with Darwin Gray Solicitors, the University of South Wales (USW) and the Federation of Small Businesses. Research carried out by USW showed that women in business mentioned ‘time’ as a major factor in their lives – whether literally never having enough of it, or finding the right time to launch a business and the right time to grow a business.