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There are no mistakes. Only puzzles to solve.

Do not fear mistakes

There are none

  • Miles Davis

There's an endless variety of ways we live in fear of making mistakes. The circumstances and magnitude changes but the fear is always there at some level or the other.

When I was a programmer, I had colleagues that were petrified to make code enhancements. In their mind, the code was working, and they didn't want to break it.

As a baker, I worked with folks who wouldn't dare deviate from the written formula. Follow it to the letter, they thought, and the bread would turn out. Deviate and it would be ruined. Simple as that.

Recently, I realized I was avoiding sending out guest invitations for my podcast. Not because my invitation might be rejected, but because I was afraid of messing up the email by not personalizing my template properly.

The trick to this, as with so many things, is a change of thinking. Reframing the problem from something that could break to a puzzle to be solved.

Good puzzlers don't change a bunch of things willy nilly. They intentionally change one thing at a time, so they can back out and start again if they don't get the result they're after.

A good programmer can test a change a hundred ways and can always back out if the change doesn't work as planned.

A good baker is always tweaking her formula to fit the current conditions, but will only make one change at a time. She won't change hydration, yeast, dough temperature and fermentation time all at once and hope for the best. (And she'll likely keep a change log too.)

And what about my podcast invitations? How do I get over the fear of fake personalization? I tried taking all 'personal' bits out of the template. Left the basic facts about the show, but that was it. Each email gets more hand crafting, which takes a few more time, but they're getting sent out again and that's the main thing.

You can't let fear of mistakes stop you from bringing the good stuff to Your People.

Put on a white lab coat and grab a clipboard if it helps, but start solving puzzles and get back to shipping.

How is the fear of mistakes hold you back? How are you dealing with the fear?