Make No Mistakes, That You Can’t Learn From
Ever been in a situation where it was your word against someone else’s? P-a-i-n-f-u-l.
David had a situation occur years ago where it was essentially his word against a client’s word. He got burned—pretty badly—from it.
But it hasn’t happened since. He learned from it and implemented a regular practice to avoid this kind of scenario in the future.
Taxes and death are certainties in life. And so is making mistakes.
But when big mistakes happen, how can you handle them without dropping into a fetal position and pretending you are just stuck in a bad dream?
Don’t Let The Mistake Become A Fear
This is the first piece of important advice. Why? If you’re operating out of fear of the mistake you made, or of making a future mistake, it’ll be difficult for you to implement the rest of the steps.
So, first and foremost, acknowledge that making mistakes is inevitable. When they happen you can learn from them, fix them, and figure out what to do so you can avoid making the same one next time.
Don’t be afraid. It’s not the end of the world.
Learn Early From Mistakes
You’ve probably heard this definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Not only is that my favorite historical quote, it is a guide, letting you know it doesn’t have to be that way. When you decide to learn as quickly as possible from mistakes, you’re giving your future self a ginormous, priceless gift—just like an automated money transfer into an investment account. (And who doesn’t want that?!)
Every time you quickly learn from a mistake, you’re gifting yourself better mental health, better relationships, a better financial state, and more time because you’re dealing with less time-sucking errors and more now that’s what I’m talkin’ bout kind of work.
And that feels good. Really good.
Turn Mistakes Into Life Lessons So You Gain Experience
When you’ve made an error, put it into perspective. In the big scope of things, will it really matter six months, a year, 10 or 100 years from now? Even if you’re the boss?
Very likely not.
Give yourself some grace and acknowledge that, just like every single person on planet earth, you’re imperfect. Imperfection means you’re going to make mistakes.
So instead of dwelling on the mistake, ask yourself, “Why did I fail?” Take time to reflect on what happened—from the perspective of an outsider—with no self-effacing judgement:
- Look at what sequence of events occurred that led to the mistake.
- Identify what you could have done differently.
- Write it down so you’ll learn for next time.
And then consider adding a process to avoid it in the future.
Then look up: Wabi-Sabi
Implement Processes To Avoid Future Mistakes
Once you’ve identified the mistake, how it occurred, and what could have been done differently, ask yourself if there’s a process you can implement to avoid future errors.
For example, circling back to David’s experience when it was his word against a client’s, he began using a logging software to track every action an end-user took when using his software. That way, if the user claimed the software was “broken”, he would be able to go back and identify what the user had done to the software to create the problem they were now faced with.
This one step eliminated any future “my word against theirs” kind of scenario.
Now, David is always right. And believe me, he will let you know.
Is there a process you can implement that could curtail any future mistakes?
There Are 2 Groups of People…
There are those who will put their shoulder to the wheel and do the uncomfortable work to learn from mistakes. And there are those who don’t.
Which team do you want to be on?
Based on an excerpt from our BIZ/DEV podcast, Episode 46.