Working Without A Net

On Monday, I made a really bad decision at work. It was definitely not my finest moment. I was (classically) rushing to get things done against a deadline, multi-tasking like it was an olympic sport, and trying to get answers to five individuals at once.

I missed some important details right in front of me, and it ended up in a total fail.

I should have slowed down. I should have taken at least one big deep breath and done one task at a time.

Unfortunately, I did not.

I realized the mistake roughly 2 hours after I had made it. My stomach churned and that awful anxious feeling turned on. And stayed on as I went through the highly visible process of admitting the mistake and taking steps to ring-fence the damage.

I wanted to huddle in child's pose. I just hate making mistakes. It makes me look and feel like I am not in control (but let's be honest - I was not in control). It really does not matter how much yoga and breathing exercises I can fill a day with - the truth is that I am still very much a perfectionist. Maybe not on my mat, but certainly with my job. The saving grace is that at least post-yoga, I am a much calmer perfectionist. It is a good thing that we are all works in progress.

I sent an email to a friend, one of my kindred spirits on this crazy journey, and told her that I had f'd it up big time - without a net.

And she responded, as I suspected she would, with simple advice:

Here's what to do when you f up with no safety net: forgive yourself for not being perfect.

She did not say to let it go or to shake it off. She got at the core of what was really needed:

Forgive yourself.


(a different kind of "f" word)

Somehow, I have managed to do this in my yoga practice, but still need practice to move it off the mat. I have made my mat a place where there can be no mistakes. There can be falls, misses, and way too much pushing - but there can be no mistakes. I love that about yoga. It is why my practice is my sanctuary.

Her response also reminded me that I need to stop imagining that I am working without a net.

I have a net. Many in fact. My family and community, my practice, and my own ability to forgive.

Even when it means forgiving the perfectionist in me.

Especially when it means forgiving the perfectionist in me. 

And sometimes - maybe - what we think is a high-wire act without a net - is a test of our own strength:

To be human. And to respond to ourselves with the same compassion we show other people.

So that we don't live life in fear of the mistakes.

The next time we lift our feet off the wire, we might not fall. We might fly.

(Net not pictured - but present)