Why Being Allowed to Waste is so Important When Investing in Ourselves and Our Careers

Why Being Allowed to Waste is so Important When Investing in Ourselves and Our Careers

I have bought a number of online courses and programs that I didn’t use or complete.

That $1,000 one from a few years ago—that $1,500 a few years later.

In fact, I recently joined a $15,000 mastermind that I thought was going to be helpful for a big strategic move I was making… and realized a few months later I didn’t actually want to make that move.

I could tell you about what I did harvest from each program—how I got this key insight from this one, and how that one inspired the way I coach clients on such and such problem.

And it’s true, but that’s not the point.

The point is that we hate waste. We think we are failures when we start something and don’t finish. When we *invest* in something and then don’t finish.

But the truth is that waste is part of the process.

Any good film? There’s footage on the cutting room floor.

Any great project or strategy? There are ideas that we created, even fleshed out, that are abandoned never to be recovered.

There’s waste.

But another word for waste? Margin.

It’s the extra material you have in case you make a mistake in the garment you’re sewing. It’s the extra time you build in so you can experiment and be abundant rather than just barrelling towards the deadline with the easiest solution.

Waste is part of the process of creating something amazing.

And here's why being allowed to waste is so important when it comes to making investments in ourselves and our careers.

We can stay on the shore waiting to have it all figured out before we start.

To make sure we have the 100% perfect program. That we’ve chosen the 100% perfect career move to make.

But we can’t eradicate the uncertainty involved in making any decision to make a move.

And we won’t learn what works or doesn’t work unless we try it.

In the early days of my business I really struggled to invest in my business and myself. I’d consider potential investments in coaches or support that would help me achieve my goals. I’d ruminate over them for weeks, only to abandon them.

The inner good girl in me felt like I had to get it right. I couldn’t misspend money because there wasn’t enough. I had to get it absolutely right the first time.

Or else I would be a disappointment.

Or else there wouldn’t be another chance.

But once I did finally invest, I wished I had done it sooner.  I saw the progress I made with the extra help and support. I saw the buy-in I created for myself in choosing a course of action and putting my resources into it.

I learned soon that these investments, or choosing a strategic move didn’t always work out. But I moved forward so much faster when I was making investments and decisions.

So I coined a term for the money I spend on a strategy or investment that doesn't work out.

I call it “mistake money.”

I actually almost never use the term “mistake money” after I’ve made an investment that didn’t work out.

I use it *before* the fact. 

When I am ruminating. When I am obsessing. When I am trying to find an iron clad guarantee in the universe that this will work out.

That’s when I remind myself that sometimes there is mistake money, and spending is part of the process of getting to something amazing—and getting there more swiftly.

I’ve learned that those I look up to in my career invest frequently in coaches, help and support, even before they’ve “made it.” They’re always working with a coach—or more than one. They’re always learning from someone who can teach them.

They fill up their lives with people they can learn from and who inspire them.

I am enough. I am worthy of waste and margin and giving myself abundance on the pathway.

I am enough.

I help women lead more easefully, more joyously and more boldly.
You don’t have to get there on your own.


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Hi I'm Maya

Mia Scharphie , career coach, headshot

I’m a career coach and strategist with a secret power (I mean, past career) as a designer. I love road trips, graphic novels and helping people like you design the career you love on your own terms.