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You’re Gonna Get Burned (and why that’s okay)

You're gonna get burned and why that's okay careergasm.com

Last week I made homemade butternut squash soup. This is a big deal.

It may not be a big deal for some, but it is for me. I don’t cook. I heat things up. I order in. I’m the kind of gal who has a bowl of Cap’n Crunch for breakfast and a green smoothie for an afternoon snack. I’m all over the map in terms of the healthy stuff and crappy stuff I eat, but very little of it involves actual cooking.

I consider any recipe with more than five ingredients “fancy” – not because I can’t cook, per se, or even that I’m lazy. What I am is impatient. I don’t usually think about eating until I’m already hungry, so I keep it quick and easy. As a result, cooking has never been my thing…until recently.

I want to learn how to cook.

I don’t like to cook, but I do like to eat, and I’m craving warm wholesome healthy foods for a change. Since warm wholesome healthy foods are hard to come by in the microwave dinner aisle, I have to suck it up and make something myself. So I’m teaching myself how to cook.

That homemade butternut squash soup I made? I got burned. I mean I literally got burned. That fucking soup spat right into my eye. It burned my eyelid and left me looking like Quasimodo for half a day. It was infuriating…and (after my temper cooled) delicious. I tried something new, and aside from getting burned it worked out fine – just not as smoothly (or injury-free) as I had hoped.

Here’s the thing: If you’re trying something new you’re going to get burned. Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. That’s a part of learning.

I burned a slow cooker recipe for apple cinnamon oatmeal so badly a few weeks ago that I thought I might have to throw out the whole damn slow cooker. Then again, I made a complicated recipe for spicy carnitas tacos that went off without a hitch. You win some, you lose some.

I’m not just talking about cooking. I’m talking about learning.

Learning is slow and infuriating and very often things don’t go as planned. It can also be satisfying and rewarding and delicious. But before you get to delicious, you’re probably going to get burned once or twice.

Getting burned is okay…good, even. Because it means you’re trying something new and that takes guts (and occasionally Polysporin). Trying is step #1 in getting it right. Trying again is step #2. tweet it

A young client of mine beat herself up because she didn’t know how to write a resume and cover letter. She felt stupid and incompetent. But she had never had to apply for a job before, so why on earth would she be a pro at writing resumes and cover letters? “You just haven’t learned how to do this yet,” I said to her. “Of course you’re frustrated. Nobody gets anything right on the first try.”

I can’t tell you the number of people who come to me feeling like a total failure six months or a year after starting their own business. They feel ashamed and stupid because they’re not making money yet. They’ve been burned, but the truth is they just haven’t learned how to do it yet. Starting a business has a steep learning curve. So does writing a resume, beginning a new job, or taking on a new project.

If you’ve been burned, here is my advice: put some Poly on it and chalk it up to learning. You didn’t get it right the first time, but hey, you’re trying and that’s half the battle.

Keep trying.

Get burned.

Learn.

Repeat.