As I was driving my kids to school this morning we recited our morning mantra together. We’ve created it over the years as a reminder of what is important as they walk away from the safety of our house into the sometimes uknown and uncharted halls of the school.
It goes like this: 1. Work hard, 2. Do your best, 3. Have fun, and when you have something extra left to give, spread some kindness around.
After we said our mantra together this morning, my daughter threw in an extra piece of wisdom that came from her wonderfully insightful teacher. She enthusiastically yelled, “make mistakes and be messy!”
After they stepped out of the car and blew me their kisses, I began to think more about the wisdom she shared. I started to think about all the times I’ve beaten myself up for making mistakes (I was actually in the throes of it this morning when she dropped her truth bomb). I contemplated how often I want my life to work out the way I’ve planned it and how much I fight the idea of letting my life sometimes be “messy”.
I wondered: What would it look like if we embraced this idea?
As adults we have a plan for our lives. We go to work in the morning and want to succeed in everything we do. We plan out our days and if something in our schedule changes it throws us for a loop. If our day goes by without any interruptions to that plan, we feel as if we’ve succeeded.
Only when there is a lack of messiness and we’ve done all that we’ve set out to do, do we feel as if it has been a worthwhile accomplishment. Very rarely do we say to someone; “my day went nothing like I had intended or planned for, but it was A-mazing!”.
I know I’m speaking in absolutes and there are likely a select few of you reading this that have already learned to embrace your messy and mistake-ridden lives, but I also know there are many of us that are still on the path. I, for one, am still learning that mistakes equal growth and messiness often brings us opportunity.
What would it look like if you allowed yourself to make mistakes more freely?
Would you take more chances?
Would you let go of the inner gremlin in your brain always telling you that you have to be perfect?
Could you instead learn from the mistakes you make and grow from them?
What could you learn if you embraced the messiness of your life instead of fighting against it?
How would it feel to let go of perfectionism and instead embrace the untidyness of your life?
What if you threw out all the self-proclaimed “rules” that you’ve created for who you are and enjoyed a day of just being you?
What if you allowed for some spontaneity in your life?
As I think about my kids sitting in their classrooms with their wide eyes, playful spirits, and open minds, I realize how adults could learn a great deal from them. They are constantly being exposed to new ideas. They are learning from trying something differnet, making mistakes, learning, growing, and trying again. They are taught that mistakes do not mean you are a failure. On the contrary, it means you were brave enough to try something new.
They are learning that it’s not just OK to have some messiness in your life, but it’s expected. The messiness equates to a life well-lived and a lesson learned. Some of the happiest, most succesful and well-rounded people in my life are the ones who openly admit to their mistakes and the messiness of their lives and are brave enough to wear it as a badge of honor.
As Albert Einstein wisely stated, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Today might just be your day to open yourself up to making some mistakes and getting messy. While you are at it, feel free to try our mantra on for size and work hard, do your best, have some fun and throw in a little kindness. You might just find yourself enjoying a feeling of freedom, reminiscence of elementary school!
Try something new today and share how it feels to make mistakes and be messy in your comments below.