Please tell me you know who Ms. Frizzle is.
You must remember the star of that popular PBS show, “The Magic School Bus.” She’s the wonderfully wacky woman with the electric-orange hair and outfits covered in spaceships, dinosaurs or test tubes — tipping viewers off to each episode’s educational, yet undeniably entertaining, topic.
You’re nodding your head and smiling now, right? OK, good. (If you’re feeling befuddled, do a quick Wikipedia search and then scoot back on over here.)
Ms. Frizzle had quite a few catchy quotes during her time on air (1994-1997, according to Wikipedia), but this is my favorite:
Last week, I had an experience at work that made me think of these words of wisdom from the Frizz.
I’ve been moved into a new role, which I love, but which is also waging a war my indecisiveness. As I fretted over one of the major decisions I’m facing and wondered aloud to my manager about whom else I should talk to before making a ruling, he cut me short.
He asked me what I wanted to do. He said getting other opinions was unnecessary. He said this one was my call.
As if I wasn’t feeling uneasy as it was, he threw the final punch:
“You need to feel empowered and be willing to make mistakes. In fact, I want you to make mistakes.”
Yes. You read that right. Bless this man for knowing how deeply my perfectionistic tendencies run and for forcing me to confront them.
He’s not saying that he wants me to do anything obviously absurd, but he does want me to get out of my own head and take a chance — and probably get messy. (Someone hand me the Clorox wipes, preferably the lemon-scented kind.)
I am, as I well know, my own worst enemy when it comes to my creativity. Some days, I hear artistic tendencies banging at my brain’s front door, but if the result of letting them in is unpredictable, I tend to let them sulk outside.
Well, today, I took my manager’s advice to heart, and I took a chance. I hope it doesn’t end up being a mistake, but, for the first time in a long time, someone has told me that he won’t think any less of me if I mess up, and I’m going to embrace that with unbelievably grateful arms.
What chances would you take if you believed that making mistakes is actually an essential step in developing your creativity and achieving success?
(As further evidence that I work in a wonderfully innovative and accepting environment, here’s a video clip from “Meet the Robinsons” that our CEO has shown in many meetings. Here’s to taking chances!)