In this episode, we’ll be discussing mistake avoidance and how it’s holding you back from achieving your goals!
Our brains are hardwired to protect us from making mistakes, which can result in missed opportunities, decreased creativity, and stalled momentum. urgh!
But what lies beneath this protective mechanism?
What limiting beliefs and self-concepts are preventing us from taking action and moving forward?
In this episode, we delve into how mistake avoidance manifests, identify the beliefs that underpin it, and provide practical strategies to create space with them.
Join me as we explore this topic and empower you to overcome mistake avoidance and achieve success.
Let’s get started!
Find out more about Impactful Women Coaching Program for small business owners here https://resources.meegancare.co.nz/impactfulprogram
Full Episode Transcript
I am Meegan Care mindset coach and meditation teacher. This podcast is here to help you unwind self-doubt, people pleasing, imposter syndrome, and overwhelm so you can step into the confident leader you were born to be women. It is time to bring your purpose into the world in an impactful way without sacrificing your wellbeing.
Are you. Let’s begin. Hey, welcome to episode 14, my friends. Today we are talking about mistake avoidance and how it’s costing you your momentum, success, and creativity in your business. And I wanna tease apart a little bit how our brain is trying to protect us from making mistake. , that’s a protective mechanism and we’re gonna workshop it a little bit so you can just follow along while you are walking or whatever it is you do
while you listen to podcasts obviously if you’re driving, you’re totally keeping your eyes open the whole way through. Maybe you’re just listening to my voice and you can come back and kind of workshop the small piece in the middle there later on. But if you have a pen and paper to hand grab them now and I’ll, you can write some notes down while we go through the little workshop piece of this cause it’s gonna be really helpful to identify.
what are the beliefs that are under the surface? What are the self-concepts that are limiting me that actually my brain is trying to protect me from? And this is why we have mistake avoidance happening. And obviously mistake avoidance stops us from taking actions. It stops us from taking. , what it perceives to be risky actions that might end in error might end in failure.
So it’s our brain is trying to protect us from that. However, it is trying to protect us from the feelings that go along with those limiting beliefs. When those limiting beliefs get triggered and we are talking in the, in the realm of shame of not good enough, I’m a failure, I’ll never get things right.
All that kind of not good enough stuff. and what we are gonna do today is just identify for you how it shows up. What that belief might be, what that self-concept might be, and then how you can have some space with it. Cause all we really need is a little bit of space with it. And don’t worry, it’s not like an emotional, kind of cathartic podcast.
No way. Not at all. Where. Playing with a bit of mindfulness, we’re playing with identifying some of those core self-concepts, and then we are looking at strategies and ways that we can create some space with them because I think it’s really helpful to reframe why we are going to avoidance, why we find ourselves stuck so often.
and why we really long for momentum in our business and what we’re offering in our projects and what we’re getting out in the world. But actually what we find ourselves doing is feeling stuck a lot of the time. So this pattern of mistake avoidance, which is actually a protective mechanism from your brain, is part of the picture.
So that wonderful author and researcher, Brene Brown says, failure can become our most powerful path to learning. If we are willing to choose courage over comfort. The question I ask myself is, how can I choose courage over comfort?
courage over avoidance, which feels more comfortable in the moment. And so this little exercise that I’m gonna give today is going to highlight for you what are the beliefs underlying this avoidance, and then what can you do about them so they’re not having such a, hold on you. You ready?
Let’s dive in and really see some of those fears and those self-beliefs and those limiting beliefs for what they are. And then let’s have some space with them. Right? So what we. Have a better idea of is what does our brain tell us when we make a mistake? So what I’m gonna get you to do, if you’re willing and if you are not driving a car, play along, it’s really insightful.
You can grab a piece of paper and a pen and write things down, or you can just play along inside your own mind, okay? It’s gonna give you some extra awareness Anyway, that is really helpful. So if you’re willing, I want you to try this out in your imagination right now. , imagine that you’ve made a mistake in your business or your profession, and this event is something in the future.
I don’t want it to be something that’s happened in the past. Okay? So imagine it to be something in the future, not something that’s already happened. You are making it up. Oh, if that happened, I would feel pretty shit. I would feel bad about what had happened if I’d made that. you can close your eyes and go into the process if you’d like to or just carry on with what you’re doing.
And imagine as we go, you’re still gonna get some insight. Okay? So you’ve got that future event that you’ve just made up in the future. This mistake happened. If that happened, I’d feel really bad.
Okay? So see that happen. and now in that moment in the future, what are you thinking?
What are you thinking? I fucked up. I messed up. I can never get things right. I always get things wrong. I’m so stupid. I’ll never be good enough for this role. I’m letting the whole team down. , what are the thoughts that pop into your head? And then what are you saying? So if you’re imagining it and you can see it happening, maybe you’re there with other people or you’re seeing it happen, maybe you’re by yourself and your imagination.
What are you saying out loud? If I’m there with other people and I’m imagining this scenario, I’ve, I’ve made a big error and that’s caused a lot of problems for my. ,team what am I saying? I’m so sorry. Oh God, I’m so terrible. I’ve done a really bad job with this,
mine is full of apologies because I was raised to be very people pleasing like many of us. What are the words? What are you saying in your imagination. in this moment in the future that you are imagining. Remember, it’s not real. Hasn’t happened yet. Won’t happen, but we’re just making it up because we’re uncovering beliefs.
What do you believe about yourself? I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough. I can’t be trusted. I’m a bad person. What’s your version?
and what are you doing? We’re nearly there. We’re nearly there with the yucky stuff. What are you doing? What’s your body posture? What does your face look like? Are you looking down, looking up, looking out the window? Are you closed in in your body posture or are you aggressive and pushing out defending?
what can you see? Are you able to make eye contact
and are you feeling anything in your body right now? And if you are, what’s that like? Oh, a bit of anxiety in my chest, throat. Closing stomach, really tight. Kind of wanna go away and distract myself with something else. Write these. ,down write it down. What is, what are you feeling in your body, if anything? And what that, what is that like?
And now take a look at what you’ve written. Can you pull out any limiting beliefs about yourself? Negative self-beliefs, playing out. I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough. I always get this wrong , I’m such a bad person. This is the sneaky stuff that’s going on underneath the surface in our brain.
This is like the beliefs that we have under the surface, and the reason we get stuck in avoidance. and can’t get ourselves into momentum is because our brain is trying to protect us from feeling this. So it with our brains logic. If you don’t risk making a mistake and I shut down the possibility of that, then you are not going to be exposed.
to these awful feelings that go along with these limiting beliefs
that go along with these limiting beliefs. So you can see from that logic why we get stuck and why we have trouble getting into momentum, because actually it’s a protective mechanism from our brain to try and keep us. . So you’ve looked at what you’ve written or what you’ve thought about, and maybe you’ve pulled out one or two negative self-beliefs.
I’m a failure. I’m not good enough. I never get anything right. Whatever the flavor is for you.
And don’t worry, we all have them, all of us, every single one of us at some level, and they’re either controlling our actions. or they’re not controlling our actions anymore. And that’s what I wanna help you with, is to help you to free yourself from those negative self-beliefs enough that you can get into momentum.
Because once you’re freed from those negative self-beliefs, it doesn’t mean that they never, ever, ever come up anymore. You just come to this place where you understand that they don’t have any inherent meaning that they’re not actually true. They are just something that you have believed about yourself in the past that sometimes get triggered every now and then, but you no longer believe them about yourself going forward.
So these are the sneaky beliefs that hold you back from making bold and creative moves in your business. The other beliefs that are keeping you. . Okay, so we’ve had enough of those, right? So take a breath, shake it off, breathe in really deeply through your nose. Let your belly be soft and your ribs expand.
And just hold for a moment and then exhale out through the mouth, out through the nose. Let in it all go. And then another deep breath in. Inhale breathing and soft belly soft ribs. All expanding three dimensionally. in the body. Hold your breath for a moment, and then as you exhale, imagine you’re just breathing all that out and change state.
Look out the window, look out the beautiful trees. If you can see beautiful trees or plants. Is it sunny? Is it raining? What day of the week is it? Shake that off. Okay, ready? Let’s look at a. . So when I work one with one-to-one with clients, we use Creatrix method to rewire these beliefs. It’s really fast and permanent, but we can also create some space with ourselves.
Okay. Because we’re not in a session together today, so we can just go about using awareness tools and, and coaching tools to create some space with. All right, so step one is awareness. You cannot do anything to change what’s going on inside you without awareness, and we’ve just gotten awareness.
You have a sort of a, an idea of what that belief is. That’s awareness. So really, really important with awareness is to have that really clear understanding that that belief is over there. That is something that I believe about myself, have believed about myself for a long time. It is not necessarily objectively true about me, and it is not who I am.
Yeah, it is a constellation of thoughts, of feelings, of needs, of history, of probably trauma, inherited beliefs. It’s the whole gamut. It’s the whole galaxy there, but it’s not me in my most whole state. It is something that arises. and it is like a pattern of energy. It is something that my brain believes to be true about me, but it is not the totality of who I am.
Very, very important. So that’s awareness. Okay. . And then step two, you need to feel it in your body. Nothing shifts if we are only conceptualizing it. Thinking about it with our brain in terms of beliefs, in terms of emotions, we need to have some sense of feeling of it within our body. We don’t need to go into a big, cathartic state.
Not at all. , but if we can just get an echo of feeling of it in our body, we have some somatic body awareness. That is really helpful because again, then you can recognize it and you can have some space with it, and you’ve already done that too. You’ve already felt it in your body. to a small degree. So this is very different to when you might get taught to feel a feeling, feel a belief, but then feel the feelings that are underneath that belief to make them big to try and discharge them.
That is not. what I follow in my work, and that is not how I’ve been taught to work with emotions, mind and body in a mindful, healthy way. Okay? So you don’t need to go in and try and make those emotions really big to release a more cathart them It doesn’t really work that way. All you need to do and you’ve already done it, is.
Just very lightly touch in on, okay, so what might that felt sense, experience be like when I’m in that belief of I’m stupid
or I’ve messed up royally and I’m gonna be in big trouble for this. You don’t need to feel the experience at a hundred percent, and I do not want you to. go for 5%, 10%. Just so you have an idea of what that feels like in your body. Because again, part of this process, your brain is gonna try and to protect you from those feelings.
So if you then in the future now get a slight inkling of that same felt sense experience. This is where bodily awareness is really, really helpful. You start to feel that tight end in your throat and your heart rate is increasing a little bit, or it feels a little bit anxious in there. As soon as you now can recognize that, you can check in with yourself, oh, what’s going on here?
What’s been set off inside me? Is there a fear? Is there a belief? Is there an emotion? what’s happening inside me. You can check in with yourself and readjust, okay, what do I need? What’s going on? What am I worried about? How can I support myself in this moment? And so now moving into that.
I am gonna get you to ask yourself these questions and letting embodied response come. So don’t try and get the answer right with your brain, and
it’s a different way of thinking about questions, okay? So it’s not right or wrong, you are, you are asking the question to allow some wisdom to come through in your. So you are using your brain and your consciousness to ask the question and then just see what arises. Is it a feeling, an image, a thought, a sense of something just at the edge of your awareness?
Any of those are okay and really, really useful because they’ll emerge organically over the next days and weeks. It’s like you’ve just drawn through a little bit of wisdom from your subconscious. We don’t need to fix it all in one hit, embodied awareness of what’s going on. Will start that process going.
Okay, so first question is, how would I feel about this? This being that future made up event where you made a mistake an error and there was a whole lot of judgment on yourself. How would I feel about this if I knew that making mistakes is part of the process of growth every single time?
What does that offer you inside yourself? The, does it give you some more space to know that making mistakes is a part of the process of growth every single time. . And if that’s the case, then we need to expect it every time we are growing, every time we’re evolving to that next level, every time we are trying something new.
You’ve all heard the stories of the infant who’s learning to walk, who falls down hundreds and hundreds of times while they learn to. ,walk they do not perceive that as a mistake. All that while, while they’re, while they’re falling down, while they’re learning to stand up and then falling over while they’re toddling and grabbing hold of the furniture, none of that is perceived as a mistake.
It is a path to being able to walk then to run. . And we all know with toddlers, when they’re off and they’re running, you gotta run to keep up with them, right? But there’s no like mental, of course, because stage and age, right? That’s where they’re at. But if we apply that to how we think of ourselves as adults, when we are learning something new, we we’re trying something new in our business, we’re trying to bring something out into the world, we’re bringing our purpose through, and it doesn’t go according to plan.
And so the first moment that that happens, we are filled with these thoughts of, oh God, I’m never gonna get this right. I don’t know how many times it comes up for people when something doesn’t go as planned, where they go, oh, I should just drop it. I should just let this all go, go back, try and get a job.
And I’ll tell you, this happens for women who have been in business. For years and years who are successful in their business. It still happens from time to time. So if this comes up for, you know, that it comes up for women fairly frequently as well, and for many women. So it’s just not buying into it as being the truth of reality.
This is again, just your brain trying to protect. because it thinks that, you know, if you’re in a job then oh, there’s that security and you can’t be rejected. You can’t be pushed outta the pack. All of those things that are about community and connection and protection.
That’s your brain’s way of handling it. Of course, we know that there’s nothing is guaranteed in life, right.
Okay, next question. What if my brain could understand that this awful feeling and those thoughts that arise when mistakes are made or as a protection against making mistakes, Are actually the voice of shame. What if that awful feeling and those thoughts that arise are actually the voice of shame? And then add to that shame is not the truth of who I am and it has nothing helpful to add to this situation.
So if I go into a pattern where I’m feeling quite bad about something or for me overthinking something is a sign that there’s something going on under the surface around emotions. It’s normally the case, right? If we’re overthinking,
if I keep coming back. Overthinking about something that’s not working or there’s been a mistake and I’m just not getting it, like I’m not accepting it, recognizing it for what it is, and then moving on. Then one place to look to is shame. Has shame come in and muddied up the waters here. Now shame is the difference.
our brain saying to us, I am a screw up and I screwed up. So we know which one is more connected to shame, right? I am a screw up, not I screwed up or I made a mistake. I am the screw up. I am a failure. That is the voice of shame and the difference is subtle in words, but it is huge in meaning. And if we can create that difference for us of rather than wholly identifying with the mistake as being as meaning that we are a failure, we are the mistake, actually seen it as separate to us.
Oh, I made a mistake. . I made a mistake in that situation and I am sorry for it, and I am human and I will make a amend if I need to make a amend and I will carry on because that is how I learn. That is how I grow and how I evolve. So it’s like we need to retrain our.
to be willing to make mistakes. And in terms of how our brain matures as we do come into middle age, there is more I think of that mistake avoidance, avoidance of pain, avoidance of suffering. , there’s less willingness on behalf of our brain to risk mistakes. And you see that, oh, I see that for myself m more easily with the physical stuff, right?
So I’m perhaps less willing to do something physically that might put myself in harms way, and that’s a very natural thing that our brain does as we age. It’s far less risk tolerant. , same thing goes in terms of our business and what we’re doing and what we’re trying, but I think it’s really important to remember, yes, this is what’s going on in the structure of our brain, but it’s actually healthy for us to take calculated risks.
To be willing to make mistakes and fall on our face. in life, physically and generally, but also in our business because this life is more than just playing small, and that doesn’t end when we leave our twenties. , we can absolutely keep flourishing and we are still flourishing in our forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies.
And so can we put into perspective how our brain perceives reality, how our brain tries to protect us from making mistakes? Because making mistakes will trigger. , those negative limiting self-beliefs and that feels horrible. So the brain tries to protect for that. So it keeps us, tries to keep us small because it thinks keeping us small is keeping us safe.
But we know differently, don’t we? We know that actually what we need to do is to expand out our edges, to show up and be visible to risk making mistakes, to risk doing things that don’t pan out and maybe aren’t successful because they are part of learning and growing, and they will help you evolve into the person that you are becoming.
Hey, thanks for joining me on the podcast. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends, share the episode. It all helps to get this information into the hands of other people that can use it to really unwind people pleasing, imposter syndrome, self-doubt, cuz we can do without that anymore, right? We need to step up, step in to being, being the leaders we were born to be.
Have an amazing week, my friend.