The Honor in Mistake

Posted by Karen Davis on Friday, August 23rd, 2019 at 11:53am.

"While one person hesitates because he feels inferior,

the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior”

~Henry C. Link


The self-perception people have when they make a mistake is not usually positive. This leads to the natural human knee-jerk response of hiding a mistake, not acknowledging the error or taking responsibility for it.

We cannot learn if we cannot acknowledge mistake. We would never have learned to walk, to read and write or to do much of anything if we did not trip along the way. The human condition is made up of Trial and Error scenarios. Many of the obstacles holding us back involves the fear of mistake or misstep.

So, how do we change the self-perception of mistake to an honorable perception?

Forget the mistake and learn the lesson. Keep in mind that we have to see the error, correct or make remedy and then keep what we have learned from it. Not learning from mistake just means we will keep making the same one over.

We are not our mistakes. It just means we are learning and trying and putting ourselves in new situations which causes growth. People with experience and maturity will know this. I had a mentor laugh at me while I was ruminating over an embarrassing mistake I made with the comment that he made more errors before noon than I did in a year. This led me to realize I was playing things a little safe.

Faking Perfection is exhausting. If you run into people that spend their lives in this paradigm, imagine all the things they are not learning, doing, or achieving? Working on the externals only, gets in the way of performance.

Make More Mistakes to learn more and achieve more. If you are like me, I had to consciously make the decision to not always take the safe, predictable and perfectionistic path, but to push the envelope, learn, and make some mistakes. That is the definition of an entrepreneur!

Learn from the mistakes of others with gratitude. See their lessons. When you see someone else do something wrong, just remember all the things they do right and take the advantage of learning from their mistakes. Try not to let someone taking a turn at being human ruin an entire relationship.

Take Action. Here comes the honorable part. This is where we have to lock the ego in another room for a minute while we learn how to apologize, and how to remedy error. When I have a professional person in my life, who makes a mistake and steps up, takes the hit and offers a remedy, I am often in stunned admiration. It is humbling to see their honor. I want to be like that. Conversely, when I see a professional shun the responsibility of their error, my trust erodes, my opinion of them is diminished. Learning to embrace mistake comes only with time and (sorry to say) with practice. The bright side, there will be plenty of opportunity!! This is the marvelous part, we have innumerable moments to build the admiration of others!

The reason this is a necessary part of our personal and professional development is that, when we can get past our mistakes and the mistakes of others there is no need to hide or run away from where we are. This creates longevity in our careers and the relationships we need for our continued successes. It reduces regret, increases career satisfaction and our bottom line!

Karen Davis, Professional Development, Royal LePage Solutions

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