how I learned to be ok with messing up. plus: I’m sharing my biggest mistakes–yikes

how to be ok with making mistakes by lindsey lewis of libre living


Ooooh boy, have I ever made a lot of mistakes.

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about when we leave situations, or move onto the next thing. Let’s use being on an airplane as a metaphor for our moving-on process. My friend has a history of staying until the last person is off the plane, waits to make sure no one else is still there, and then sits a while in her seat, just looking around–thinking about the flight and everything she did on it, wondering if maybe it will lift off again.

Me: I have a history of ejecting at 30,000 feet. And when I reach up for the pull-cord for my parachute I realize I forgot to pack one–I didn’t think that far ahead.

I leap without looking.

What’s Your Conative Style?

That’s because I’m high on Quick-Start. A Quick-Start, according to the Kolbe Index, is someone who tends to work with action and learns through trial and error. We’re not information seekers, like Fact-Finders who gather tons of information before taking action. We’re not creating models or physical representations of what we’re going to create, like Implementors. And we’re not scheduling lessons with experts or working through instructions in an orderly way like Follow-Throughs.

We just dive right in. Sink or swim.

Dive bomb!

My biggest mistakes

There have been plenty of times this has not served me well.

I entered into a relationship with a violent man–even though my “stay away!” radar was shouting loud and clear.
2. I quit my job without looking into the viability of the solo-preneur who hired me, or asking her about her long-term plans for the business. Three months later, they didn’t have the money to pay me anymore.
I used to get angry first, and try to understand later. Look out, Lindsey’s mad!
4. I launched my business without creating any kind of structure around how I’d propel it forward. Lesson learned. Fast.
5. With my family, I still jump to conclusions about why they’re doing what they’re doing, instead of trying to actually understand it and hold off until I have more information.

I’m sure this isn’t even a full list. And there’ll be more to add to it.

But let me tell you this: though I’ve learned to take responsibility for my mistakes, I no longer beat myself up over them. Since learning about being high on Quick-Start, I’ve let go of judging myself for being a leap-before-I-look kinda gal.

I learn best through trial and error, and making mistakes is exactly what I need to do in order to remember what not to do next time.

And there’ve been times when my “let’s just do this” impulses have served me very well.

My Best Rewards

These are times when my Quick-Start instincts have led me to things I’d never had done if I thought it through ahead of time and allowed doubt and “yeah, but how?” to creep in.

1. Creating the 30-Day Challenges. These are a lot of work, and so incredibly rewarding. When the idea first came to me I had no idea how it would work technically-speaking. But I said “yes” and figured it out. And they’ve now lit up the lives of over 565 people, and there are some exciting new developments happening with them that I can’t talk about just yet that will take them to even more people.

2. The weekly #invitationals. This idea landed fully formed while I waited for it with open arms. When it finally arrived, I didn’t stop to think about how it would be feasible, I just started.

3. Deciding to co-host a networking group with Lori Corcuera, co-founder of Spark Creations. We both jumped in with both feet. And did only one meeting before deciding it wasn’t for us. But we developed a long-term bond that’s turned into friendship and some exciting collaboration.

4. Signing up for life coaching. I listened to half of the information session call before hanging up and placing my deposit. Don’t tell my Dad, who’s a Fact-Finder through and through. He’d have directed me to first look into things like how many coaches are in my area, how much money I could expect to make, and how much work it would take to get it off the ground. Instead, I just leapt. And well, here I am.

5. This one is a double-up. That violent relationship I was in? It served me by helping me to realize I needed to take a hard look at why I was entering into relationships, what I felt about being on my own, and to think hard on what kind of guy I was really deserving of. I did the hard work, spent lonely nights feeling bad about myself, got used to being on my own, figured it out and waited. And when I met my husband I took it slow.

Redefining what it means to Make Mistakes

Along the way, I’ve learned to redefine what it means to make mistakes. They’re not mistakes, they’re trial and error. They’re the way I learn best. By the way, check out this article on–scientists at Johns Hopkins university have recently discovered that our ability to perform a physical athletic or creative task isn’t entirely about what the body has learned to do right. Instead, we owe our success to the hundred times we’ve tried to master a skill and failed.

click to tweet: @lindsey_lewis: They’re not mistakes, they’re learning through trial and error.

If I kept beating myself up over making mistakes, I’d be constantly ducking the mallet or nursing bruises.

Instead, I’ve learned to be proud that I can handle falling flat on my face. I get back up, brush myself off, and keep going. A little tougher, a little smarter, and a little bit more prepared for what’s next.


Consider your conative style. Are you high on Quick-Start, Fact-Finder, Implementor or Follow-Through? However you do what you do, it has many strengths. And we’re all different. Own your style and use it to your best advantage.

Much love,


Aug 12, 2014 · Comment

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