A problem that we hear a lot of feminist entrepreneurs express is a fear of stuffing up.
They’re worried that they will get things wrong, that they will word things in a way that might offend or hurt someone, that they might be called out or called in, or that they might f*ck things up so bad that they’ll feel shame or embarrassment as a result.
As a result, they shut down, don’t say anything, remain silent, inactive, or not doing the work required to show up in this way.
We get it. We all do and will, unintentionally, cause harm, and there are things we can do to make repairs and respond in better ways.
We have founded a Feminist Coach Academy and we are still scared of stuffing things up and getting things wrong – if anything we’re probably more scared now.
We not only feel fear around this though, but we know for a fact that we will stuff things up, make mistakes, and get things completely wrong sometimes.
We have each, individually, been called in at least a few times for using problematic language that wasn’t inclusive and was potentially harmful.
Our world didn’t end. We apologised. We did what we could do to repair what we’d done. We genuinely commit to doing better next time and we do the work that will enable us to do better.
Showing up in a feminist way can be challenging. We also believe it is the right thing to do. And if you are reading this, you probably do too.
So, the first thing to do if you’re holding back due to fear of stuffing up, is to accept you are going to. No matter how much you learn (and unlearn), there are things you don’t know yet. We all have learning edges, and as we learn more, we can aspire to do better.
Depending on your social identities and privileges, you’ve also likely been socialised to oppress others, to uphold problematic systems, and to perpetuate harm in different ways. In fact, expecting perfection of ourselves in itself has roots in Patriarchy and White Supremacy.
The sooner we ditch perfectionism and accept we are going to get things wrong sometimes, the sooner we can change the story from worrying about getting things wrong – to instead focusing on what we will do and how we will show up when that inevitably happens.
In the Feminist Coach Academy, we have classes and teachings on what to do when we stuff up and need to repair or work through the impact of this and the harm we’ve caused.
We also have classes that will help you feel more equipped in having the courageous conversations required in these contexts. If you’re interested in going deeper, then we highly recommend you check out our Feminist Coach Theory Training.
WATCH THE VIDEO
In this post and video, we’ve included some examples of actions you can take today to work through this fear of f’n up and show up in a feminist way.
One of these is, as we’ve already suggested, accepting that it will happen, and shifting your focus from this, to creating a plan for what you will do to repair the harm and do better next time.
This might include learning how to apologise properly, because many of us didn’t learn this skill.
It might mean identifying your ‘learning edges’ and figuring out a plan for how you can develop further there.
It might include having a feminist or social justice mentor who you can book in with to talk through the problem or mistake with and be held accountable to the repair work required.
And it might include being part of a program like our Feminist Coach Theory Training where we have various teachings and classes to support you with this.
So we invite you to take a moment to choose at least 1-2 actions that you will do this week to help you work through this problem.
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