And how you can make the most of it
I'm probably the biggest fan of making mistakes you'll find. My first WordCamp talk was based on our worst client mistakes and how we have learned from them. I think getting it wrong is probably the single most reliable way to make your business better, IF you are smart enough to learn the right lessons.
If you've ever attempted anything in your life you've probably made a mistake. If you're reading this and saying “Not me ever,” then you're either lying or the Yoda of our times. Learning from our mistakes is a natural and necessary part of growth, both personally and in business.
I'm currently teaching my youngest that it's a bad idea to lean over and try to grab a pan on the stove while I'm cooking. I tell her not to touch and that the pan is hot, she does it anyway and looks up with indignation when she nears it with her hand and feels the uncomfortable warmth as it's heating up. She's made the mistake of going for it, but what she will learn from this is much broader than just “hot pan.” She will figure out that “hot” means stay away. Even babies begin to infer and learn big lessons from single mistakes.
Now, let's take this a step further. You may not get it wrong very often in your business. If you rarely make mistakes that doesn't necessarily mean you're successful. For instance, if my daughter had never tried to touch the stove to begin with she'd never learn the core value of “hot” and build upon that as she learned more about water and food. That one attempt will serve her tremendously as she develops. Had she never tried, she'd be behind the curve.
When you get burned in business do you pay attention to the lesson? Or just get mad at the situation? Here are some great questions to ask yourself when you get it wrong that will help you make the most of it and catapult your growth personally and professionally:
What did I do wrong? Yes, you did do something wrong. This does not mean you are to blame, mistakes don't always create a bad situation, they can also perpetuate them.
How could I have avoided this?
Is my mistake affecting anything else? I've rarely seen a mistake have an isolated effect on just the mistake-maker. Identifying all those affected can give you further insight on where potential problems might be.
How do I adjust my everyday work/business to change this?
What mistakes have you learned from? I'd love to hear more and share some of mine.