Tuesday, 19 August 2014

I made a mistake today and I told the world.

You know that feeling when you think there's something you've forgotten, but don't know what it is? It's a niggly kind of feeling, but worrying the niggle does nothing to uncover the forgotten thing. Today my niggle was revealed: I had completely forgotten something very important in one of my projects.

I don't forget things very often (apart from bills I have to pay - and that's just because I'm busy and disorganised at home). At work, I'm super-organised. Working part time in many different places, including my own business, means that I have to be extremely organised and ready for everything well ahead of deadline.

Today I received a call from the secretariat of a conference where I'm putting flyers in the conference satchels to advertise. The satchels are being packed tomorrow on the Gold Coast and I have paid for 450 flyers to be placed in those satchels. I'm in Melbourne.

Firstly, I owned my mistake. I explored the possible options with the secretariat and then told my boss what the options were. My boss was excellent. We talked about where things stood, I proposed a solution, we made a decision and I went off to fix the problem.

Thanks to the digital age, I was able to easily find a local printer, email them the art work and have the flyers printed and delivered by 8:30 tomorrow morning to the place where the satchels are being packed. Phew!

Initially, I felt really stupid and was concerned that I had made such a mistake. I guess I also worried that I had let people down. Of course, everyone makes mistakes. I told myself this and then my little inner critic replied "but I don't". I shut that critic down. Of course I make mistakes. I just proved that today. Being open, honest and owning the error was the best thing I could do. This enabled collaboration on the solution my error had created and built trust. Yes! My boss will trust me more as a result of what happened today - not because I made a mistake, but because I didn't try to hide the error.

What do you do when you make a mistake?

What about the sign on this door? I notice it every day at my train station, but today I tried to understand what it means. I think someone made a mistake. What's the point of a door that no one is allowed to go through?

© 2014 divacultura


  1. Absolutely. Owning up to a mistake early so it can be fixed quickly is the best answer. Covering up just makes things worse and increases mistrust. I totally agree with you.

    1. I wonder if we were both 10 years old would we think this? I often think that reluctance to own our mistakes and see them as an opportunity for something else to happen is probably down to "getting into trouble" for stuff when we are kids. Thanks for reading!