Friday, February 06, 2009

I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

There's a sign on the bulletin board outside the Youth Director's office at my church. It reads, "No PerfectPeople Allowed." Now there may be some who read that sign that may be mildly obsessive-compulsive that insist there is a typographical error in that sign. But they are mistaken. The "error" is intentional, in which case it is no error at all. How perfect is that?

Everyone makes mistakes. Believe it or not, I even have made them myself. One I seem to make over and over is to send an email that says "Here is the link to ..." or "Here's the picture of ..." and I'll forget to include the link or the file attachment. How embarrassing. Especially if it's an email to someone like my boss's boss. Not only do I not look good, my immediate boss looks foolish as well for hiring me in the first place.

But I take comfort in this: No one gains any level of success without making their fair share of mistakes. But it isn't simply making mistakes that makes someone successful. Here is my check-list of "How to turn a mistake into a success":

1. Find something you want to do, and do well.
2. Make all the preparations you need, enlist the help of everyone you need.
2. Go out and try your darndest to do it right the first time.
3. Make a bunch of mistakes and make a huge mess of your project.
5. Admit that you made a bunch of mistakes and made a mess of your project.
6. After you and everyone involved stop laughing (or crying, or both), figure out what went wrong and how it could be done differently to not make the same mistakes again.
7. Repeat steps 2 through 6, until you get it right.

OK, it might not be a perfect checklist. But then again, I'm not perfect either. So what did you expect?

Back to making mistakes.

Just because you succeed at something doesn't mean that the success in itself is not a mistake. Like when I had that job where I had to send emails to my boss's boss. Most people would see that job as a level of "success." More money and more responsibility, more prestige in the company. On the surface it looked good. But I was miserable. I realized that for me to be in that job was like putting a mauve dress shirt and lime green tie on a NFL linebacker. (Yeah, you should be reaching for the barf bag with that visual.) Point is, I recognized the error of my ways, learned what I did wrong, and made steps to change my ways.

I just hope my former boss hired someone who could remember to send the attachment the first time in an email.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mauve USED to be my favorite color!