Bet On Yourself This Year

So we’ve turned the page on 2020 and for many of us, that is truly a ‘good riddance’ moment. Even if 2021 isn’t all lollipops and rainbows, we are on the path to better days.

Since 2021 is still new and yet to be written, we are thinking about mistakes. Yes, we said mistakes! 

Consider Einstein’s words:

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. 

So, the risk of trying new things is making mistakes. We think that’s a pretty good bargain. 

Now, don’t get us wrong, we cringe at the idea of making mistakes as much as the next person.  It feels much better to get things right than wrong, especially in the short term.  But if you reflect for a moment on the most impactful lessons of your life, we bet many of them were the direct result of mistakes and not the product of glowing praise for error-free living.

We recently took an inventory of our own mistakes and what we learned from them.  Here are a couple of our work-related mistake stories:

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Carol's mistake that cost the company lots o' money (~2min:30s)

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Laurie's mistake that taught her a lifelong lesson (~2 min)

This is just a pinky-toe dip in the ocean of our many hard-won lessons. Once you start taking an inventory of your mistakes, you realize a few things:

  • Not always, but often, there are warning signs that you are on the wrong track. In retrospect, you learn what they are, and you learn to look out for them next time.
  • There’s a lot to be gained by asking questions. If you had only thought to ask more questions, you might have picked up on a key issue earlier.
  • How you react to your own and to other people’s mistakes has a BIG impact on future learning. When a mistake is made, acknowledge it, make a plan to fix it, capture the lesson for future use, and move on. 

Now, we know this is all easier said than done.  Some workplaces embrace mistakes as a way to innovate faster and progress but others, spoken or not, make it clear that mistakes are NOT acceptable.

Think about the year ahead and what new things you’d like to learn, professionally or personally.  The past year has accelerated change on so many fronts; what mistakes are you willing to chance on the way to achieving bigger and better things? 

In the words of the great, scrappy Raptor, Fred VanVleet:

 Bet on yourself this year and grow BECAUSE of your mistakes.

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