We all make mistakes. We make the wrong decisions from time to time. Mistakes are part of life and as much as we hate it mistakes WILL happen. The thing about mistakes is that they have a very bad reputation and no one likes them. Mistakes can be expensive and have negative consequences for those who make them and for the people around them. No one wants to make a mistake and no one wants to be the one whose fault it was. That is understandable. I think, however, that even the worst mistakes, both in life and in business, have the potential to have positive takeaways.
Mistakes have consequences.
The first step in your “mistake illumination” is to accept and acknowledge the fact that making mistakes will bring consequences. Most importantly, you have to face the consequences of your errors. Consequences can be big or small, often depending on the magnitude of the mistake itself. Sometimes an easy fix will solve the problem. Sometimes a mistake will cause long-lasting irreparable effects. Sometimes, on rare occasions, a mistake will have an unexpected positive result. But these ones are rare so don’t bank on it happening every time.
Learn from your mistakes.
The old saying reads something along the lines of “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”. The same can be said for mistakes. It is okay to commit an error. But you must learn from the experience and you must analyze why and what happened in order to identify the source of mistake. If you make the same mistake twice, then shame on you.
Mistakes keep you grounded.
When you reach a leadership position it is, in most cases, the result of making the right decisions and working hard. This can sometimes result in a bit of a “big head complex”. Making mistakes are a good reminder that you are not perfect and that you do not have all the right answers. Making mistakes will keep you focused and humble enough to ask for help when you need it.
Mistakes mean you have tried something.
Those who never make mistakes are the ones who have never really tried anything. If you want to get something accomplished, you must get out there and TRY. Sometimes these attempts will be successful. That is the great news. On other occasions the results are not what you were expecting. But at least you are trying to get it done. You are trying new methods, you are trying to take steps forward.
My point is that no one likes making mistakes. And by all means we must try to minimize the errors that we commit. However, wrong decisions and mistakes will inevitably happen and we must be ready to deal with the consequences and, if necessary, you must be willing and able to say “sorry”. More importantly mistakes present us with a great learning opportunity and it means that, paraphrasing Thomas Edison, you have discovered a way how not to do things. See? Not all is lost.
So get out there, make decisions, try new things, implement ideas, and make mistakes.