How do you feel when you make a mistake? Do you feel angry with yourself? Discouraged? What do you do about it?
When my cousin John retired from the military and took on a senior management role for Sprint many years ago, he published a monthly employee newsletter containing a life lesson for me. He had a section called "Lessons Learned."
I was fascinated every month as the fiber optics crews reported in every detail (complete with photos) on mistakes they made in the field. They then taught everyone in the company the lessons they learned from the blunders they had encountered. I was impressed at how John could turn someone into a hero for reporting a mistake and the lessons from it. This practice supported a safety-conscious, sharing, learning culture.
I was profoundly impacted by these stories.
As independent professionals, we are responsible for every part of our business. In some areas we are accomplished, in others we are just managing, perhaps even struggling. Mistakes happen in every area. Imagine what it would be like if you could quickly and automatically ask yourself: "What is my lesson here? What can I learn from this?
Instead of dwelling on a negative feeling after a mistake, put your brain to good use by asking yourself the curiosity question, and then allow the answers to flow. I'll bet you will feel better, bounce back to full productivity more quickly, and learn ever-better ways to serve your clients. And have a better attitude about mistakes, too!
What stories can you share about your mistakes and lessons learned?