Speak Eagle

Overcoming the Fear of Making a Mistake at Work

What are you most afraid of at work? A new poll from Accountemps, a staffing services firm, found in their study of 420 employees that the top fear was making a mistake on the job, even more than being afraid of getting fired.
When you’re called out at work for making a mistake, it brings with it a deep sense of shame about who you are as a person. It also can instigate some pretty destructive intrapersonal communication- that’s the communication I do with myself. I start to tell myself- I’m an idiot, I can’t do anything right, I should just quit now before they fire me. I think shame feels a lot like that heavy x-ray blanket they may have put on you at your dentist office. And naturally, we want to do everything possible to keep from experiencing that kind of shame.

While being afraid of making a mistake can motivate us to ask good questions, to work hard, and to do our best to be excellent at our job, being afraid of making a mistake can also cripple your creativity and innovation, and even keep you from trying a new way to make your processes more efficient.

So, what can you do? Well, just like the key to overcoming the fear of heights is to gradually expose yourself to heights, the key to overcoming the fear of making a mistake is to gradually allow yourself mentally to go there. Allow yourself to imagine making a mistake and give yourself the grace to be imperfect.

And when the inevitable happens, because you will make a mistake if you’re human, admit you aren’t perfect and push the shame off with grace. Grace for yourself.

To learn more about how to overcome fear in the workplace, contact us at hipposolutions.com