Did You Make A Mistake?

July 15, 2008

Isn’t it great when people share their mistakes? I don’t know anyone who has been successful in business without making plenty of mistakes. And it’s really useful when they share them with others, especially when they share what they should have done, or what they did to put things right.

Michael Martine did just that in an amazing post. He explains why his first business failed and how blogging saved his bacon. If you’re a business owner, or you want to start a business, you can’t afford to miss reading his amazing story: How I Brought My Business Back From The Dead With Blogging.

While it’s nice to read a great business success story, it’s even better to hear about how someone went wrong and managed to pull things round isn’t it?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you share every single mistake you made with the whole world. I was once told I’d gone overboard on this blog. I had too many posts about mistakes - I even used the word “mistakes” in my tagline.

But sharing some of your mistakes with those around you, including your customers, or your readers - if you’re a blogger or a writer can really help you to connect with them. Nobody’s perfect - and those around you will be able to identify with you more, if you share your mistakes, as well as your successes.

Have you ever made a mistake in business or life? What did you learn from it? Were you able to use the experience to turn things round, or did you learn a valuable lesson that will be useful to you in future?

If you’re a blogger, you might want to try writing about a mistake you’ve made in a post. And if you write about a mistake you’ve made before Tuesday 22nd July and link the word “mistake” to this post, I’ll include a link to your article in a post about a mistake that I’ve made.

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22 Responses to “Did You Make A Mistake?”

  1. Akemi - Yes to Me on July 15th, 2008 2:46 am

    I went over and checked his post. Good one. Thank you for directing me there. (I even left a comment. . .)

    It’s great you share your failure story — we can all learn from failures but too few have the courage to share one.

    I’ll think of my failures — navigate through them and come up with a post.

    Akemi - Yes to Me’s last blog post..Power of Two: James Chartrand and Harrison McLeod

  2. sterling Okura on July 15th, 2008 4:18 am

    Thanks for pointing out this post Cath. I love Michael’s term “brochureware”. His success story is good inspiration for me to keep blogging.

  3. Sara at On Simplicity on July 15th, 2008 6:40 am

    This is actually similar what I’m posting about on Friday (and it was inspired by one of your recent posts!).

    I make mistakes all the time–I just try to keep them small.

    Sara at On Simplicity’s last blog post..The Simple Guide to RSS Readers

  4. Barbara Swafford on July 15th, 2008 7:13 am

    Hi Catherine,

    I think if anyone says they never make mistakes, they are lying. It’s from my mistakes that I learn the most.

    When we make mistakes, I think it’s important to ask ourselves, “what can I learn from this?’ Often mistakes are a blessing in disguise.

    BTW; That’s a great read at Michael”s blog.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..This NBOTW Will Make Your Laugh

  5. Scott McIntyre on July 15th, 2008 10:37 am

    Hi Catherine,

    To hi-jack a famous lyric: “Mistakes. I’ve had a few but, then again, too few to mention” ;-)

    Seriously, I really try hard now not to dwell on mistakes simply because I’ve learned this through experience.

    Often, I used to fret after having made a mistake which doubled the negative impact- 1. the direct effect of the mistake 2. the indirect effect of the mistake on my attitude.

    Now, when I make a mistake, I quickly learn from it and move on.

    Once I make an error, I don’t see the point in wasting any more valuable energy on worrying about it.

    At least, it works for me!

  6. cathlawson on July 15th, 2008 1:06 pm

    Hi Akemi - wasn’t it a great story. I do the same as you and write about them for blog posts. It’s difficult to know what to share and what not to share. The only thing I worry about is some bad person reading about my mistakes, or potential weaknesses and trying to exploit them.

    Hi Sterling - yes - that was a good one. He comes up with some great new words and phrases.

    Hi Sara - thanks. I’ll be interested in reading the story. I’m already trying to guess which post you might have based it on.

    Hi Barbara - That is a great way of looking at it. Even some of our biggest mistakes could protect us from screwing up really badly later on.

    Hi Scott - I can understand what you mean. Even though it’s nice to share mistakes - especially business ones to help others - there is the danger that putting that mistake in writing could have a negative impact. I guess that’s why some of those self improvement people don’t mention their mistakes.

  7. Urban Panther on July 15th, 2008 3:22 pm

    First of all, a quick comment to Scott. Totally cheesy lyric hi-jack. I like it!!!!

    I used to be horrified if I made a mistake, and I would try to hide it/cover it up at all costs. Now I examine it. If it involves apologizing to someone, then I get right on that. If it involves changing a behaviour, I get right on that too.

    Do I share my mistakes with others? Absolutely. First, if they can learn from my error and avoid it themselves, fantastic. But more importantly, I find it’s always best to announce your error to the world before the next guy describes it for you. Gives you far more control over how the story comes out *grin*

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..Santagati and the Great Canadian Beaver

  8. cathlawson on July 15th, 2008 3:25 pm

    Hi Urban Panther - Congratulations on being awarded NBOTW.

    That is a great point on sharing your mistake before someone else does. It looks far better if you tell the world yourself.

  9. RacerX on July 15th, 2008 3:59 pm

    You will truly learn more from mistakes than sucesses. In fact if you aren’t failing, you probably aren’t pushing hard enough.

    RacerX’s last blog post..My Microsoft Money Is Bigger Stronger Faster

  10. cathlawson on July 15th, 2008 4:45 pm

    Hi Racer - sometimes I wonder if I’ve pushed too hard.

  11. Avani-Mehta on July 15th, 2008 5:06 pm

    We need to be worried if we are not making mistakes.

    Avani-Mehta’s last blog post..Mind Power to Overcome Anxiety And Be Stress Free

  12. Barbara Swafford on July 15th, 2008 5:31 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    I’m back!

    Urban Panther brought up a great point. When we are the first to admit our mistake, we do “release” it. If we even think about trying to cover it up, we begin to weave a web of deceit that often becomes larger than the original mistake.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..This NBOTW Will Make Your Laugh

  13. cathlawson on July 15th, 2008 5:40 pm

    Hi Avani - that’s true, I guess you can’t be trying hard if you don’t make mistakes.

    Hi Barbara - that’s true. Politicians make that mistake a lot and they make things a whole heap worse for themselves.

  14. Marelisa on July 15th, 2008 7:31 pm

    I have never heard of anyone who did not make mistakes. If you’re sitting in a room without moving to make sure that you never make a mistake, then that’s your mistake. Mistakes are just part of the learning process.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Your Anti-Career Guide – A Holistic Approach to Discovering Your Life’s Work

  15. cathlawson on July 15th, 2008 7:59 pm

    Hi Marelisa - exactly - you’d have to be doing nothing almost permanently.

  16. M. Johnson on July 15th, 2008 9:35 pm

    That is one good blog post. A great story to keep in mind.

    Mistakes always teach you lessons that is for sure.

    I will never post an adwords ad without physically testing the destination url first! ;) Nothing like wasting $100 on clicks that went nowhere.

    M. Johnson’s last blog post..Where to Find Home Business Ideas

  17. cathlawson on July 15th, 2008 11:45 pm

    Thank you M. Johnson. I shouldn’t be laughing because I did the exact same thing as you a few months ago. It’s definitely one of those mistakes that you don’t make twice isn’t it.

  18. The Hidden Question In All Job Interviews | Hunter Nuttall . com on July 17th, 2008 6:38 am

    [...] you ever made a mistake? Catherine Lawson will link to you if you fess up by July 22nd (see that link for [...]

  19. rld - taekwondo happiness on July 17th, 2008 12:52 pm

    Wow, great timing :) I was planning on posting a series on my epic mistake in Taekwondo training. Once its written, I’ll be sure to link here!

    rld - taekwondo happiness’s last blog post..Sunday Meditation: ?That is why you fail?

  20. cathlawson on July 17th, 2008 1:44 pm

    Hi RLD - That’s great - I’m looking forward to reading your contribution.

  21. Ricardo Bueno on July 19th, 2008 4:46 am

    They say that the way to becoming an expert and being successful is through “experience.” But I would venture to say that you not only excel and learn through experience, you build and learn through the experience of others (that includes learning from others mistakes).

    Ricardo Bueno’s last blog post..“Feng Shui” What the heck is that?

  22. cathlawson on July 19th, 2008 11:33 am

    Hi Ricardo - that is so true. And it’s nice being able to avoid screwing up because someone has shared how not to do it.

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