I do.  I often feel like an idiot.  I have a tendency to make up words.  I’m a terrible speller and I often mispronounce things.  On a good day, I put it down to the fact that I stretch myself, I am intelligent, I read a lot. I incorporate new words into my vocabulary and I’m not afraid to try them out (it’s also easy in English to mispronounce new words as we don’t have strict grammar rules like in other languages).  Plus, I’m a big picture thinker and details don’t matter to me so much.  So that’s what I tell myself on a good day, when I am feeling confident and self-assured.  On other days, a good chunk of them, I feel like an idiot, a complete fool.

My partner - a wonderful, gorgeous, genuine and kind man but also just a tiny bit of an intellectual snob - has a good little giggle at my follies with the English language.  Sometimes when I create a new word, he looks at me, one eyebrow raised, a slight smile dancing on his lips and says, “babe, please tell me you didn’t say that in a meeting!”  He knows that, through my consulting work, I work with many big wigs. In fact, most days I have meetings with people in very senior roles, that sit on boards, influence many, the C suite generally.  He knows that I wouldn’t look very credible if I said words like ‘disingenius' or a few of my other little favs, that I might be looked upon with slightly less respect.  But you know what?  And yes, I did just start a sentence with a “But”, and then another with “And” - it doesn’t really matter.  My errors are picked up by a super-smart guy, and often by myself. As a former English language teacher, I often realise my errors.  Despite my many mistakes, I am not a complete idiot.  What I am, though, is human.  I make mistakes.  Sometimes out of laziness, mostly out of excitement of punching out ideas, sharing my opinion, or giving advice on how to help others.  Whatever, I make errors, and a considerable amount of them.

I have now made a commitment to myself, though, not to persecute myself for them (I once did) or even think less of myself.  Sometimes I laugh at myself.  Other times I feel gratitude because we learn from our mistakes.  They are opportunities to grow, to be better people, to feel compassion.  I know that just when I am starting to get a bit “too big for my boots”  I make a mistake and it brings me back down to earth.  If for one second I was thinking I was any better than anyone else, I am quickly reminded that I’m not.  No one is any better than anyone else.  We are all human.  We all make mistakes.

As brilliant and amazing as you are, or as silly and mistaken as you are, we are all human, trying our best.  We can think of our mistakes as little gifts to remind ourselves of that.  So, am I an idiot?  No.  Do I make mistakes?  Yep, lots of them, but I prefer to see them as learning opportunities.

Someone much wiser than myself once referred to the unfortunate things that happen to us in life (including those we bring on ourselves through our mistakes) as “gifts in sh.tty wrapping paper”. I firmly believe in this, because with every mistake comes an opportunity to learn. If we didn’t make a mistake, or weren’t pulled up on it, we wouldn’t receive that gift of growing and being a better human being.

So get out there, stretch yourself, use words you’re not quite sure how to pronounce, and push yourself to do things outside your comfort zone that you may falter with.  I promise you, you’ll learn an immense amount.

do you ever feel like an idiot


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