Do you ever have those things that happen where you’re like, “Ugh, why did I do that?! I should have known better” ??
…Forgetting to add the salt in the cookies you grew up baking.
…Signing on the wrong dotted line when you’ve been signing contracts for years.
…Those plans you impulsively said YES to that always drain you for days after.
Whether it’s a recipe you’ve made a hundred times or an industry you’ve been in for literal decades, having experience in something doesn’t mean you’re immune to a flub-up.
And the more experience you have, the more likely you are to fall prey to this specific negative self-talk — I Should Have Known Better — and all the negative self-talk that follows it:
I’m such an idiot.
What a rookie move.
How could you do that?!
Sound familiar? I know it well. I experienced it this week, actually…
Over the last few weeks — ok, last few months — I’ve alluded to the fact that I’ve been having some difficulty with my mental health (as I think a lot of us have been having!). My anxiety has been flaring up so hardcore that it’s been close to impossible to get most things done — and the things that HAVE gotten done, it’s taken all my energy to do them.
So when I finally started to feel a wave of relief, I knew I wanted to tackle something important to me that had been suffering: my podcast.
I started the WANTcast six years ago when I was busy simultaneously working a full-time job, teaching 8 spin classes a week, and spending at least three hours in my car every single day just to get from one place to another.
But no matter what my schedule has looked like, the WANTcast has always stayed a priority since it launched in 2015.
So the fact that I didn’t have it in me to publish a new episode for a whole MONTH, without warning, was wildly out of the ordinary.
The second I started to feel more like myself, I was determined to get “back on track.” I put all the pieces into place, and I finally pressed “publish” on the first new episode in a month last Friday.
WE’RE BACK, BABY!! I squealed to myself in my mind. I geeked out about it on social media, feeling pumped to be in my groove again after an unexpected hiatus, and went on my way.
Cut to Monday, when I’m taking a morning run and decide to listen back to the episode again. (I always love listening purely for enjoyment after everything is up and running and I’m far out of editor-mode.)
I press play and hear the intro music, a wave of relief hitting me that I finally did the damn thing. I’m so jazzed — I’ve listened to this interview about four times already. It’s REALLY GOOD. I’m so proud of myself for getting it out to listeners and so excited they get to enjoy it.
I hear myself talking…
…and then I hear a long pause.
I hear myself clear my throat.
And then, I hear myself taking the loudest, slurpiest GUUULLLP of water right into the microphone.
What happened, exactly?
I’d been so pumped to get the episode out, I’d totally spaced on editing the first 45 seconds.
Which is really the first 15 seconds if you don’t count the intro music.
The LITERAL period of time it usually takes people to pass a judgement on whatever they’re listening to.
Luckily, because I do most everything myself, I know how to go back and edit shit like that out. My run became a sprint as I booked it home and images of one-star iTunes reviews started to flash before my eyes.
She doesn’t even know how to edit her podcast! ⭐️❌❌❌❌
Awful listening experience! ⭐️❌❌❌❌
Don’t even bother, what an amateur! ⭐️❌❌❌❌
Just NO! ❌❌❌❌❌
And then…the dreaded phrase popped into my head.
Katie, it’s been SIX years. You. Should. Have. Known. Better.
Here’s the thing. Whether it’s a small “whoops” or a big “oh shit” moment, things HAPPEN. And we can be really hard on ourselves when we make a mistake — especially if we’ve been doing that particular thing for a while.
If that’s you, and you’ve experienced your own “I Should Have Known Better Moment” lately, here’s what I have to say — and I hope you take this to heart —
That *one thing* does not, in any way, negate all the expertise and skill you’ve built over the years.
Even the most seasoned athletes trip sometimes.
Even the best chefs will inevitably burn a meal.
The mistake you make probably won’t define you — it’s what you do next that matters.
The whole process of re-editing, re-uploading, and re-publishing took maybe five minutes. The edited episode is now up and running, but I couldn’t shake the fact that at least 500 people had already downloaded and listened to the episode (and my overactive thirst neurons).
And so in that moment, I chose to practice MISTAKE RESILIENCE (not sure if that’s a thing, but I just made it up so now it is!). Which basically boils down to:
1) GRACE: recognizing my humanity, which means human error will inevitably happen if I’m working on something, because I’m a person not a robot.
2) SPACE: zooming out from the experience and looking at it within the grand scheme of things. I’ve been podcasting for six years, and hope to keep going for many years more. One mistake doth not make or break a pod unless I let it.
3) REPLACE: taking the moment and framing it as a useful learning experience instead of a defeating defining moment. In this case, the lesson was two-fold: I learned to always give my introductions one last listen before pressing publish. And I also learned that getting something done is always better than toiling over perfection for so long that you never end up doing anything.
With just 7 weeks left in the year — less than 50 days! — I’m really hoping we can all practice more Mistake Resilience and focus less on what’s going wrong and more on what’s going right. Not to gloss over or avoid missteps and mess-ups, because you are a human not a robot, but to set your future self up for success.
Where can you give yourself grace?
How can you get enough space?
Is it possible to replace that self-loathing with a lesson learned?
And then, last thing I’ll say — I know sometimes the little things don’t feel so little at all.
I know the little things can so easily spiral into the big things. And since life is made of the micro-moments, It’s easy to let each one define you.
Life is tough, but you are tougher
YOU get to define You by what you do next.
I believe in you.
I hope you believe in you, too.