Everyone makes mistakes. A few days ago I was coaching someone who made a pretty serious mistake at work. The mistake might cost the company thousands of dollars. She was upset and worried. As we began to work together, she began to shift her perspective. She quickly moved toward looking for a way to find some sort of value in the experience. By the end of our coaching session, she was actively planning on ways to address the mistake and leverage learning for herself and her organization.
Here are three things one might learn from making a mistake:
1. Who am I? Do you hide it? Blame others? Vow to never make another mistake again? Or perhaps you keep quiet, but learn from it. Maybe you use it as a lesson when helping others. How you handle mistakes says a lot about who you are as a person.
2. What is important to others? Yep. Evidence about what others think, feel and value is evident by how they respond to you when you make a mistake. By the way, great leaders use mistakes as a learning opportunity, and a chance to improve systems and processes.
3. It’s all a matter of perspective. A mistake may be the best thing to ever happen to you or your organization. Really. Potato chips, velcro, silly putty and Viagra were all mistakes, unintentional discoveries, and just plain goofs.
It may not feel good to make a mistake. In fact it can be downright painful. Like every other life experience, it can also serve a purpose. How do you respond to mistakes? How will you leverage the next mistake into your version of the Post It note?