Learning from the Past-How your #Mistakes, can benefit your career

In my previous post I spoke about how my past experiences have benefited my career and my life.  In this post I talked about my experience at the United States Naval Academy and also gave a few short examples of others, many more famous than me, who have benefitted greatly from their failures or non-achievements in their life.

Each of us has that same opportunity to benefit from previous experiences that didn’t work out well.  We will spend time today in this segment talking about this and how you can gain the most from these false starts that can then lead to greater success.

Howard Tullman gives some great advice about mistakes in his Inc. article from 2012:

  1. Make cheap mistakes
    1. Start small and that way the mistakes you learn from will not be as devastating or expensive
  2. Don’t be reluctant to change your mind
    1. Confidence is one thing, but stubbornness can be downright expensive and even fatal to your career
  3. Don’t dwell on the past
    1. Once you realize the mistake, make changes and move on-don’t dwell or stay mired in the mistakes you have made
  4. Distinguish mistakes from Systemic problems
    1. Making a mistake is one thing-making the same mistake over and over is not learning, it is problematic
  5. Be a big boy or girl
    1. Stand up and admit your mistake-don’t hide or try to blame the problem on someone else

Each of these steps can be a great learning opportunity in your venture to learn from your experiences, especially those that don’t go well.  Point 4 is especially important if you are working with other young entrepreneurs or leaders.  Identifying a mistake is the easy part.  Finding a way to put corrective actin into place is the real challenge.  Change is hard, and it can be a real pain.  We all get accustomed to doing things a certain way and even the wrong way can give a degree of comfort if you are afraid of change.

Center for Creative Leadership has done work for many years talking about the value of the lessons of experience.  You can learn more about their work by going to their website at www.ccl.org

In a recent Fast Company article, Sam Harrison goes through several other aspects of mistakes that bear repeating here:

  1. Support only good mistakes
    1. Good mistakes are those that promote learning and are not caused by laziness or carelessness
  2. Allow only original mistakes
    1. Original mistakes come from innovative thinking or creative ideas; Many mistakes come from not paying attention or poor planning
  3. Encourage only rescued mistakes
    1. Rescued mistakes resemble the good mistakes listed in Item 1; Those who recognize failure prior to it becoming full-blown are valuable to have on your team.  Find these people and take good care of them

There are many other resources I could cite in this post, but here are some final though as you get ready to go out and try something that you can learn from.

  • Original thinking, creative ideas that are well-planned sometimes lead to mistakes, but these mistakes are often good experience
  • Finding others who have made mistakes or recognize mistakes are valuable to have on your team
  • Working with others who will speak up when they see mistakes developing are invaluable
  • Repeat mistakes are devastating-those who make repetitive mistakes are better off working for your competitor

Have a great day and reply soon with what you have learned from your mistakes.