Happy little accidents (on purpose)
Taking Bob Ross' motto one step further
“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
That sweet quote is from the late painter and silken-voiced sage Bob Ross, who believed mistakes were an opportunity to learn and grow (or convert into trees in your painting).
While Bob’s motto is a lovely perspective, I’d like to suggest that we move beyond it to—gasp!—intentionally mess up.
That’s right. Let’s make happy little accidents on purpose.
I know what you’re saying: “Why on earth would I want to do that, Amy? Are you crazy?”
Maybe. But hear me out.
Are you familiar with the concept of mash-ups*? (Of course you are, clever reader.)
A mash-up could be anything from Twister Sister’s rendition of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” sung to the tune of their hit, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” to Star Wars (a cinematic mash-up of Western and Sci-Fi genres) to Zillow (a combo of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth data and various MLS databases) or even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The point is that before someone put these seemingly odd pairings together, they probably asked themselves a magic and transformative question:
I’ve found that the most interesting things happen when you allow yourself to stop worrying about the fear-based what-ifs and instead focus on the positive what-ifs that can propel your career forward to create the mash-up of your dreams.
So, what if…
You believed you could conquer the world?
You gave yourself permission to be your awesome, authentic self?
You stopped worrying about what other people might think?
You courageously came out of the shadows?
You followed your passion?
You stepped out of your comfort zone and into growth?
You took a chance?
You believed in yourself and your abilities?
You were unapologetically you?
You took a deep breath and went for it?
You said no to the negative things and people that no longer serve you?
You said yes to the positive things and people who get you?
You knew your true purpose?
You weren’t entirely sure but kept moving forward anyway?
You had no regrets or failures, only life lessons?
You allowed your curiosity to guide you to new experiences?
You transformed into the person you always knew you could be?
You embraced life’s infinite possibilities?
You asked yourself, “What if?”
And, what if…
I told you it was okay to do all of the above to inspire you to leap even though you were scared and nervous about taking that first step?
Would you? I hope so.
Never forget that you are the author of your story; write one that makes you happy.
(Consider this your encouraging nudge to ask yourself, “What if?” 😉)
When you’re actively making happy little accidents on purpose, you’ll undoubtedly face a few bumps in the road.
Fortunately, there are a couple of soft skills that can help.
On its own, problem solving is an undeniably powerful soft skill**, but combining it with additional soft skills is the best way to supercharge it.
In my recent (as in a few days ago) Forbes article, I share how to use awareness, listening, curiosity, creativity, and grit to hone your problem solving.
Grit is the ability to maintain a long-term focus on a highly important goal and about having the stamina and passion to keep going, even when you get frustrated or feel challenged.
(*cough, cough* Pandemic, anyone?)
And in my latest Forbes article (yes, it’s twofer kinda day), I share seven questions to ask yourself to develop yours.
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P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or making happy little accidents on purpose, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
P.P.P.S. You, my coruscant friend, have great taste in newsletters—thanks for subscribing! Be sure to check out the archives to catch up on previous issues, and feel free to share this one with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!
*Mash-ups are wonderful, but not all are created equal, IMO. For instance, I love chocolate and adore fruit, but I’m not a fan of chocolate-covered strawberries or orange slices dipped in chocolate. The same goes for PB&J sandwiches. Peanut butter or jelly is delightful all on its own on toast, but combined? Not so much. Then again, I know people who think I’m crazy for smothering my scrambled eggs with salsa or putting pineapple on my pizza. So I guess we’ll agree to disagree. What’s your favorite mash-up?
**I want you to learn how to cultivate and apply soft skills to your career, so I’ve created a multi-week series on Forbes that concludes with these two articles. They join my previously published pieces on empathy, persuasion, connecting with others, listening, communication, creativity, collaboration, adaptability, time management, awareness, and curiosity.