Overcoming Our Fear of Mistakes

Fear of Mistakes


What a wonderful time to be alive! Summer is here. The days are long. The gardens are growing. There is so much to be grateful for!


I am deeply grateful that YOU chose to join me on this incredible journey we call life.  I know that you have more than enough material in your inbox and am honored that you chose to add mine to the mix.


These last two months have been a whirlwind of activity, causing me to dream wistfully of those wonderful lazy summer days when I was a kid and the most important question was whether to stay in and read a good book or go out and PLAY. Ahh, yes, little did we appreciate how lucky we were!


Just like giving a new workshop for the first time, launching my website reminded me of the big plays we used to produce in high school– the intense preparation, the thrill of production, and the “let-down” when it’s all over and suddenly there is a vacuum. It feels like I’m learning all over again how to maintain momentum so that I can continue to connect, inspire and do the work I want to do in the world.


And that makes me wonder about you.  What brings you joy?  How do you respond to the vacuum?


How do you manage the let down and maintain momentum?


One of my personal tricks is to remember that the journey of 10,000 miles begins with every step.  When I feel overwhelmed by all there is to do, I remind myself that just like breathing, I can really only take one step at a time.  Sometimes, it’s a big step.  Other times, not so much.  Problem is that when the steps are smaller, I don’t feel like I’m making any “progress.”


And then my inner Comparison Queen tends to go wild with self-judgment and attacks on my worthiness. I hate waking up in that hole! So I do my best to cut her off at the pass! To notice her when she first raises her head and firmly tell her “not now.” Then, I speak out loud this piece of wisdom I brought with me from last year:


1 step X 365 days = PROGRESS!


Each person I work with reminds me  countless times and in countless ways that each step we take makes a difference. Change can often happen in a heartbeat when we allow ourselves to walk the path of vulnerability. When we try something new. Ask a different question. Look at an old problem from a new perspective.

Intentional Creativity


This is what I love. People willing to ask the questions and listen for their hearts answer. The spark in a student’s eyes when she discovers the wisdom hidden in a lifelong wound.  The smile on another’s face as she tells me that “because all the yuck and muck could come up, I’m so much happier, ‘free’er’ (hehee!)”  It is such a joy to witness – and be a part of – this kind of growth. To be present as each person finds a way to step courageously into the creative process and discover their own deep wisdom.


Im not saying that the growth process is easy, though it does get easier with practice. The tricky part is often the first step. Saying YES to an impulse that doesn’t always make rational sense, but is what your heart wants.


What holds you back from following through on that YES?


Are you afraid of doing something “wrong”?  Of not knowing “how”?  These can be huge roadblocks. They certainly have been for me.  More often than not, my resistance is really just my fear of making mistakes.  It’s an old pattern and an old fear that comes from the misguided belief that my worthiness and belonging are tied to what I DO rather than to WHO I AM.


Mistakes happen when were learning. Think about a baby learning to walk.  She stands up, takes a step and …BOOM…she’s on her butt. So, she gets up and tries again. Over and over again.  Then one day, she’s toddling across the room all by herself!  Look out world, here she comes!


Where would we be if we gave up the first time we landed on our butts?


It seems that the older we get, the harder it is to put ourselves into situations where we don’t know how.  Rather than risk failing, we stop trying.  And when we stop trying, we stop growing.  And then, if you’re anything like me, the negative self-talk and judgment take over.  What a vicious cycle.


So how do we stop that cycle?  How do we move forward when fear seems to freeze us in our tracks?  Here are a few of my go-to tricks.


First, I “normalize” my fear, by reminding myself that I am not the only person in the world afraid of doing something new.  Afraid of making mistakes.


Second, I accept that mistakes are not the end of the world. In fact, they often lead to wonderful new discoveries about myself and others.


Third, I commit to being gentle with myself. Since this is often easier said than done, I developed the LOTUS Wisdom practice to help me remember that what really matters is not what I do but who I am as I do it. It’s a method that also helps me find the silver lining in almost any situation. You can read more about it in last month’s blog post.


Finally, I remind myself of the aha I had a while back when I was feeling really stuck.  I was getting dressed in the morning and suddenly starting laughing out loud.  It had suddenly occurred to me that not moving forward because I was afraid of making a mistake was like not getting dressed because I might change my mind about the outfit I picked out.  I don’t walk around naked because I might discover that something I thought looked great really doesn’t. I still get dressed. And I still change my mind.


So let’s lighten up and laugh about how silly it would be if we all walked around naked afraid of making a fashion faux pas.  And then, let’s go 1,2,3, and get dressed – take a small step forward even if you’re scared.


Remember:  Forward Motion Is Progress!!!


Until next time,




  1. Thank you Tina. Needed that. 🙂

    • Oh Sandy, I’m so glad that this came at the right time. And, I very much appreciate you taking the time to let me know! Be well. xoxox Tina


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