Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making Mistakes

My second Women Build clinic wasn't quite as fun as the first.

Our mission was simple: take the wooden frame we made the week before, apply sheet rock, and add trim (aka casing). Gino, our fearless leader, zipped through his demo--showing us how to measure the casing and use a miter box to cut the pieces on a perfect 45 degree angle. He even cut the sheet rock for us.

His partner in crime, Gina, warned us several times of the two most common pitfalls: overzealous hammering that splits the sheet rock; and angling the casing in the wrong direction. We paired up, donned our safety goggles, and set to work.

Disaster struck almost immediately. The nails went in cockeyed. The sheet rock shifted, and then I split it at one corner. We moved on to sawing the trim, and I figured things would improve. After all, I knew my way around miter boxes from all those years of assisting my dad (and building doll furniture from scraps of wood that my sister and I stole from the new housing developments that sprung up all around us.)

Wrong. My partner, Bridgette, said, "You go first!", and I did--instantly cutting my angle in the wrong direction. Damn! Soon, cries of, "Well, it's not going to be perfect," rang out around us, as all of the women encountered similar difficulties. Gino reassured us, saying, "Of course it's not perfect--it's the first time you're doing it!" Gina added, "That's why caulk was invented!"

Bridgette and I laughed, and traded comments about the perfectionists in our lives who would say otherwise. I sited my brother and my dad, then downgraded my own inner critic to "picky." Who was I kidding? I hate making mistakes. Always have. I could blame it on having grown up under a regime that had a no-tolerance view of getting it wrong. Or blame it on the finicky artist in me. Whatever the reason, I'm harder on myself than anyone else could ever be.

Thankfully, I'm not alone. The following morning, I clicked open one of the daily inspirational emails I subscribe to, and the first thing I read was this: "If you want to be successful, get used to making mistakes...The idea that something has to be perfect before you start is just fear masked as perfectionism." So--this is the universe nudging me. Telling me it's okay to loosen up. To ease up. To remember that mistakes are just part of the process of learning.

The email ended with a challenge: What mistake would you like to make today? My response to that? "Yikes--not so fast!"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your mistakes and the messages you learn from them. Would you mind also sharing your inspirational email sources?