Mistakes and their value

Mistakes? A person can make a mistake and have value?? I tripped, fell, and hurt myself…and you say there is value in this? Why yes, I do.

I was reading two different articles today about learning from your mistakes and another about mistakes being a good thing and thought I had finally found words stating what I have been trying to teach to others for a long time. Part of teaching leadership is that practice makes perfect, but we always have to remember that most people do not understand something perfectly just by hearing, reading, or sensing it. We fumble around with instructions to our new furniture or installing a new stereo in our car and here’s the kicker-that’s perfectly all right!

In the business world we worry about mistakes because of them possibly hindering our advancement or worse, losing our job. Mistakes are how we learned everything in life, whether it was learning to walk, learning to talk, or even not to touch a stove when it is on (or just recently been on), and yet we fear making mistakes later in life. If not for mistakes early in life, we would not be who we are today and it is this point I try teaching others when it comes to leadership-don’t worry about making mistakes, you will make them!

The flip side to mistakes is that we try hiding them, glossing over them, somehow attempting to make them disappear. The consequences of this are felt when they are finally discovered or someone else takes the blame for them. Part of being a leader is being in a team and letting another take the fall for your mistake is a lack of leadership. Making mistakes means we are trying and not sitting idly by and letting the world go by us. We should embrace our mistakes and analyze them as much as we can to find out how not to make them again. This is the reason to make mistakes-to learn from them.

I get a phone call quite frequently from my dad asking me to come by and fix his latest computer problem for him. I do not mind fixing them for him, but I am not a computer specialist by any means and the only extra skill I have that he does not is that I grew up when computers were first coming out. Mind you, he was one that had a Tandy PC compatible as far back as 1981, had fax machines when they first came out, but he likes to call and ask for help. I decided it was the school of hard knocks time and began letting him figure out his own solutions. He made several mistakes and a couple of times I had to fix them, but guess what-he began figuring things out just as I have to when I have problems. Making a mistake is a great teacher.

What are you thoughts and opinions? I would love to hear from you on this topic or any of my topics!


3 comments on “Mistakes and their value

  1. Michelle Johnson says:

    Hi Courtney,
    Interesting post! I read once about an employee that made a mistake costing hundreds of thousands to their business, when asked if the employee would be fired the boss replies ” why would I fired him? I just spend thousands training him”.
    Looking forward to sharing content in the future.

    • Thank you for the comment! I agree, it costs a lot of money for turnover and with a big blunder our natural reaction might be to fire a person, and yet them learning from it may be less costly than hiring, training, and having another learn the hard way again.

  2. […] with and then branch out to learning those most closely related to it. Referring to a previous post, mistakes will be made, but learning from the mistakes is how you grow and […]

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