Miracle-Gro for Self-Improvement

Growth is an essential aspect of life. For a plant, the process is quite simple. Plants require three simple elements to grow: soil, sunlight, and water. Much like plants, humans also require specific components to grow, but what is the secret ingredient to flourish? Gardeners know that Miracle-Gro contains extra nutrients, that when used correctly allows plants to reach their full potential. This is where the process gets tricky for people. Is there one element that transitions us from a state of growing to a state of flourishing? The last 12 weeks have taught me the answer is yes; it is called making mistakes. As the brand manager, I quickly realized that making mistakes was going to be vital to my role.

Samantha Stocksdale builds relationships with community members at Pineville’s Annual Scholarship Bingo. | Source: David Smith.

At the start of the semester, I felt overwhelmed by the number of new tasks I was expected to learn and accomplish. I worried about messing up and even let the fear of making a mistake hold me back. While I realized that making mistakes was inevitable, I didn’t fully understand the benefit of them.

Since then, I have made countless mistakes. I’ve even made the same mistake more than once; something I said I would never do. But here is the important thing to remember: it is those mistakes that taught me the most about myself. It was when I felt as if I was floundering that I had to find the confidence within myself to know I was trying my best.

Two weeks into the #BrandPineville experience I came across an article on Pinterest, 7 reasons why not making mistakes is the biggest mistake. Curious, I opened the article and was presented with the following list.

  1. Mistakes help you discover who you truly are.
  2. Mistakes teach you valuable life lessons.
  3. Mistakes teach you how to forgive.
  4. Mistakes help you let go of fear.
  5. Mistakes teach you how to live a life without regrets.
  6. Mistakes help you grow and evolve.
  7. Mistakes teach you how to be happy.

After reading, I remember thinking Well yeah, I knew that, but then it clicked. I knew all of the benefits of making mistakes, but I never applied them to my life. Finally, I accepted that mistakes were inevitable. I let go of my fear, and I was free to be more creative and strategic than ever before. I decided that I would no longer allow the idea of perfection to hold me back.

It was with this realization that I gained confidence and no longer questioned my ability to complete intimidating tasks. Since then I have done live interviews, spoken to a room of over 150 people and led presentations. Today the idea of doing these tasks and having these experiences is exciting; however, twelve weeks ago, it was scary.

Samantha Stocksdale (middle) interviewed for the WVVA Noon segment. | Source: Ali Barrett

While it is clear that mistakes are a must for self-improvement, knowing how to respond is just as important. According to The “Just Right” Reaction When You Make a Mistake at Work, one should identify possible solutions, contact key personnel and apologize for the situation. By following these steps and remaining calm, you can maneuver these stressful situations with grace.

From my experience, I have learned that fear hinders growth and I refuse to be held back. As a new mistake enthusiast, I say never forget that mistakes are the Miracle-Gro for self-improvement.

My name is Samantha Stocksdale; Sam for short. I am the brand manager and chief strategist for BrandJRNY. The Eagles winning the Super Bowl was possibly the most exciting moment of my life. Follow me through our journey — @Sam_Stocksdale