The Value of Your Mistakes
Leadership Coaching: Mistakes: Never underestimate the benefit of previous mistakes. These mistakes, held kindly, are our professional gold-dust. We live in a society they deems mistakes a bad thing. I do understand if mistakes are life-threatening then indeed they are bad things. The reality is however that in our modern day world, most of our work mistakes are not going to result in the loss of life, or the sky falling in.
What mistakes usually cost more than anything else is lost profit or loss of face. No boss is going to be best pleased with either of these outcomes. Ignore that the mistake was ever made and it is likely that it will happen again and again…Learn to reflect, however, to share with those you trust, to debrief and find the nugget on gold that’s hidden in there and it can be done differently next time.
I am a very different kind of leader from the one I was when I was 24 years old. That is not only because time had passed, but it’s also because I was willing to look at some ego-deflating mistakes in the face and to tease out what to do differently the next time. This is not the first business I have run. The first two led to no bankruptcies, but they did need to be taken down not long after I started them for a variety of reasons.
There were mismatches of people and insufficient Groundedness. There were misaligned values and sheer impractically. How I envisaged that I would coordinate several decorators out in the field whilst simultaneously nursing a newborn is slightly beyond my comprehension now. But that’s what I did and those experience were the platform for my present. Now I run this enterprise and my second curve is looming, the ability to reflect on and attend to the things that didn’t work, thus making informed decisions about what to do next means that each business iteration builds upon the last.
Leadership Coaching: Mistakes
The most valuable thing in this is the asset of the people who surround me. I couldn’t debrief successfully without friends who will hear my tales of woe. Without mentors who will help me tease out the difficulty, with a supervisor who is willing to help me navigate the Shame I hold about making mistakes… and see what has been a handful of really valuable experiences. This is the starting place from which to do it differently.
If you can reflect on your past constructively and you will find that the answers to most of your questions lie within that rich compost you of your bespoke history. Avoiding regret and shaming yourself and at the bottom of the box lies hope. Make time to reflect on what you might have done differently, withholding judgment, and see what answers lie for you in there …