Make Excellent Mistakes

No one likes making mistakes. At least, I can’t imagine anyone would. I certainly don’t.


Photo by Celestine Chua used with permission.

When thinking about this topic, I had a hard time thinking of a big, flame-out mistake to share. I goof up, there’s no doubt about that, but it made me realize I probably haven’t botched things up because I haven’t taken big risks.

Don’t let fear hold you back

I really hate being scared. I fall squarely into this category that Daniel H. Pink describes in his book The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need:

Too many people spend their time avoiding mistakes. They’re so concerned about being wrong, about messing up, that they never try anything—which means they never do anything. Their focus is avoiding failure. But that’s actually a crummy way to achieve success. The most successful people make spectacular mistakes—huge, honking screwups! Why? They’re trying to do something big, but each time they make a mistake, they get a little better and move a little closer to excellence.

Come to think of it, I have taken a big risk lately.

I left my government job. I said goodbye to fantastic benefits and a high profile employer and hello to management experience and a small company with big dreams.

Think big, think long term

The decision scared the crap out of me, but thinking beyond the immediate future helped me deal with the fear. It also helped to have mentors with whom I could discuss the opportunity. They nudged me to look past the loss to see the potential benefits.

So think big, think long term, embrace that fear, and jump!

What category do you fall into? Do you make mistakes all the time, or do you never make mistakes (or if you do, they’re itty bitty ones)? Let me know by leaving a comment here.

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