The problem – I couldn’t see the woods through the tress:
I pride myself on my attention to detail and proofreading ability. It is a skill I have spent years working to hone and improve; and something I have become good at. But recently, since starting my new role, I have become increasingly frustrated by the number of proofing and formatting errors I have been making. Even worse, these errors are being spotted and picked up on by powers that be who are high up, such as managers and directors. Every email and red-penned copy sends shivers down my spine and I found myself starting to beat myself up about it. One of the reasons I was hired is because of my proofreading experience. So I started to feel pretty useless.
Flashback – I used to take it so personally:
A few years ago, perhaps I would have taken this really personally and blamed myself for being a bad and incapable person but over the years I have grown and learned to realise that mistakes do not equal failure and failure does not equal the end of Everything! That in fact, these are great learning opportunities and instead, I decided to apply these principles.
Fast Forward – what I know now:
I decided the first thing to try was to increase the size of fonts and zoom in as much as possible. I now have two screens, which makes this much more doable. However, this didn’t seem to be helping my cause and silly mistakes, such as writing ‘form’ instead of ‘from’; and punctuation errors, such as using commas instead of full stops, kept creeping in. Even formatting errors such as using different sizes and styles of fonts, which I’m incredibly pedantic about, still slipped in!
My next port of call was to book am opticians appointment. After completing my eye test, the optometrist looked horrified when I told her I’d been driving with my current prescription. It has changed so much since my last visit and what a relief to find this out! I immediately contacted my partner to come and help me to choose new glasses because I’m practically blind without them. How could I possibly choose a pair when I couldn’t see!
What I have learned:
I have just collected them and honestly I didn’t know what I was missing. Everything is so sharp and focussed and reading is now so clear! I am yet to test my proofreading skills with them but already I’m noticing I’m spotting mistakes more readily. It’s like I’m seeing the world through a new pair of eyes! And the way I approached this matter proves that my perspective on life has changed, matured somewhat. Younger me would have taken much longer to go and get the eye test done and would have struggled through the constant criticism ad self-blame and eventually started to lose her confidence! What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s so important to know yourself well enough not to always jump to conclusions and put yourself down first as it is equally as important not to blame others.