Ya’ll I have failed and as much as it frustrates me, I’ve learned valuable lessons from failure.
At one point or another in my life, I have failed my family, employers, friends, and team. It’s inevitable. I’m human and as much as I would like to be perfect, I’m not.
I’ll never forget the day I screwed up BIG TIME for a client I was working with.
I had tunnel vision, checking things off my to-do list. The next thing on my list was to send out my client’s weekly newsletter. I did just that. Check! Keep in mind, this was a high profile client with a rather large audience.
I kept plugging away until I realized that I sent an email blast from her private email address!!!! I still don’t understand what that was even an option in InfusionSoft, but I owned it.
This mistake meant that thousands of people now had direct access to an inbox that was private. It was too late to go back and fix it. The emails started pouring in and I spent the next few hours crying. I’m not a crier….but that day I did. I bawled like a baby!
- Was I fired? No.
- Did I learn a lesson? Yes.
I called my client, sobbing into the phone, and she said the most gracious thing to me that I believe all leaders should say “It’s okay. It was a mistake and I know you’ll never do it again.”.
She was right. I never did it again and let me tell you… I triple checked that bad boy every time I sent out an email!
What did this teach me?
Failure Won’t Kill Me
- Did I die? No.
- Did I want to? In that moment, yes!
The truth is, we all fail. We all do things that aren’t perfect. Have you ever had a project that’s a train wreck from the start? I have and it’s frustrating, to say the least.
We have to remind ourselves that when we fail, we will survive. It might hurt, we will likely have to apologize to someone, but one thing we can’t do is dwell on the failure.
- Own the mistake.
- Correct it.
- Move on.
Be A Gracious Leader
If my tragic email blast story has taught me anything, it’s to be a gracious leader. Mistakes will happen. What will determine the culture of your business is how you respond to them.
My client could have blown up. She could have fired me because this mistake caused more stress in her life, but she didn’t. Instead, she chose to use it as a teachable moment and believe me… it worked!
Anytime someone on my team has a flub, I share the same response that was given to me. “It’s okay. It was a mistake and I know you’ll never do it again.”.
I have yet to meet anyone who has set out to fail. It’s frustrating, it makes you feel like crap, and can make you feel defeated. However, I’ve decided to stop wallowing in self-pity when I fail and look at the lessons I can learn from failure.
Will you do the same? I hope so!
P.S. If you’ve failed in business, I’d love to chat with you. I love to help entrepreneurs become better and learn from past failures. Sometimes you need an outside perspective. Go here and let’s chat.