Mistakes Don’t Matter…

I was recently at an event for my daughter. It was the “dress rehearsal” for a music contest. For the event, they had a director from another community come in and critique all the individuals and small groups to give them some final polish before the contest. Amazing, isn’t it? Why do we seem to listen more closely to those who come in as an expert but don’t have any more credentials than those with whom we get to work with every day? A group had just performed, and things didn’t go quite as well as they had hoped. The critic commented to the group, “Mistakes don’t matter…as long as you recover well.”  I sat next to my daughter and leaned over to her, and whispered, “What a great life lesson.”

As you read this, you are probably thinking a couple of things:

That poor girl. She sure has a geek for a dad.

Oh, that phrase the critic gave is a good topic for a leadership blog.

While both are probably accurate, I’d like you to focus more on the second item and the phrase, “Mistakes don’t matter…as long as you recover well.” My dad used to remind me that the only people who don’t make mistakes are those that don’t do anything. As leaders, we are going to make mistakes. Of course, we will try to mitigate as many mistakes as possible before making a decision, but if we don’t dare make a mistake, we won’t do anything.

We need to remember: it’s not about the mistake -- it’s about how we recover. After time passes, most people won’t even remember the mistake; they will remember the result. And the results are determined by how we recover.

So my challenge for all of us is: “Don’t focus on the mistake,” rather “Focus on recovering and recovering well.” If you are in a leadership role, I’m guessing you already do this, but it was a great reminder for me. (And one more opportunity to encourage my daughter in a life lesson!)

Continue Leading the Interstates Way!

Jack Woelber


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