Mistakes of technique
… are to be expected and – to a degree – accepted. You’ll drop catches, make miss-hits, typos, errors of arithmetic. These things happen.
Yes, we can improve our technique, and we can improve the system where these mistakes occur. But we should accept that mistakes likes these are part of what it means to be playing the game – and especially to be playing towards the edge of our comfort zone.
These are mistakes where we know what the mistake is going to be, can predict roughly when and how it will happen, and do our best to avoid it.
Mistakes of tactics and strategy
… are more often mistakes where we don’t know the right answer – because we’re doing something new, or something new to us and our organisation. We can read a lot and do our best to learn from others, get advice… and then do our best and see what happens.
We might fail because we don’t know what the right approach is, or because we can’t execute our plans, in which case we’re back to mistakes of technique or inadequacies in our systems.
Mistakes of character
… are my least favourite, and the ones that haunt me the most. I’m most troubled when I feel I’ve come across as self-interested or superficial, and I find it really hard to let these mistakes go and move on.
I find it an interesting quirk that it’s the same self-interest and superficiality that I fear revealing that causes me to agonise over my slip ups long after everyone else has forgotten them, if they even noticed at all in the first place.
Which brings us back to where we started yesterday: what kind of godlike, super-mega-ultra-lightning babe do you think you are, that you wouldn’t make mistakes of character?
Of course you will make mistakes. Be honest about them, and keep going, keep building a body of work and those long-term relationships of trust with people who know that you are not your slip ups, and who will give you the benefit of the doubt.
And while you’re at it… show up to the next meeting you attend, article you read, family gathering with a generous load of benefit-of-the-doubt for others.