Making the Most of Mistakes


Some days I feel as if making mistakes is the only thing I am good at. Mistakes happen all the time and they can be so frustrating.

So, are mistakes good or bad? Well, it depends (you’ve got to love answers like that). It depends on why you made the mistake and how you handle it. For example:

The Why

  • If the mistake was made while you were trying something new to see if it was a better way…it is a good mistake (as long as you take time to learn from it).
  • If the mistake was made because you were in a hurry and did not ensure your normal quality…it might be a so/so or bad mistake. It depends if you use it as a reminder to slow down.

Your Response

  • If you let everyone know all the reasons why the mistake was made (excuses), that would be a bad mistake. Letting people know you were too busy to do something correctly or that someone did not help you or live up to their end of the deal makes it a bad mistake because you are excelling only at assigning the blame.
  • If you own the mistake, it is a good mistake. It allows you to lead and to solve the issue or fix the mistake. Until ownership is accepted (not assigned), people are normally stuck. Stuck in the past. Stuck on who is to blame. Stuck with the mistake hanging over their head. Taking ownership is truly a freeing experience.

The choice is yours. You can let a mistake own you or you can own it. One of my favorite sayings is: “Mistakes are one of the few things in life you can truly call your own”. Try to prevent them. But when that does not work, lead by learning and taking ownership.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you again at next week’s class. Thanks for your leadership!

Scott Peterson


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