First, we must accept that everyone makes mistakes. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. They are either our own mistakes, or we experience mistakes from others that have somehow come to impact our life or business. Some people are so terrified of making mistakes that, in fact, they don’t take enough chances or in the extreme cases, any chances. This is a recipe for disaster. The only way to know we are pushing ourselves to new heights is making some mistakes.
So in this way, mistakes are a win! However, there is an even larger win to be had in making mistakes. A mistake can provide the perfect opportunity to show just who you really are, to cement a relationship, and to reinforce the connection between your “talk” and your “walk.” Mistakes are a great way to demonstrate our authenticity!
Now I am not suggesting we start trying to make mistakes. They are still something to be avoided as much as humanly possible. With the correct amount of prior proper planning, having a good understanding of our own limitations, and knowing when and who to ask for help in advance, can avoid the majority of mistakes. However, there will be some situations in which mistakes just do happen.
Now this activity could be starting a new business. It could be putting together a monthly magazine. And it could be organizing a vote to determine the leadership of an industry organization. The activity is really not the point. The essential elements are the same:
• Did you have proper preparation?
• Did you identify and secure the proper resources and technology in advance?
• Did you create a reasonable timeline?
• Did you appropriately monitor the process?
• Did you achieve the goals set out in a way that shows your true values and operational style?
And then, BAM! The mistake happens. It comes to your attention. Here is where the key to success lay. Here is what separates “the boys from the men” (forgive my sexist phrase – am on deadline and have 15 minutes to finish this article).
What do you do when you are presented with the mistake? Initial reactions are terribly important. Denial is the one that is the quickest, easiest, and unfortunately the deadliest reaction. Instead, we must fight the impulse to just shut down the situation and instead, be open to the learning. So instead, the first reaction should be to STOP, take a moment, and simply listen. Take it all in. Acknowledge the mistake without trying to access blame. Change your mode of thinking into a problem-solving mode. Mistakes are not a personal attack. They are a situation to be fixed, and you and whoever has identified the mistake can become an effective team to correct it, IF you take the time to listen, understand, and approach the problem together. Create an atmosphere of appreciation of bringing you the knowledge of the issue and a sense of team in correcting it. Be willing to accept the responsibility. Remember not to panic, especially when under pressure. Quick decisions made from a place of fear will never result in good long-term results.
And thus, I am here to say thank you to my amazing advertisers who this morning, gave me the opportunity to correct some mistakes sent out in the preview edition of this issue. After 20 years of publishing, I am still learning, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this passionate, thriving specialty coffee industry.