It can be too easy to focus on our errors rather than the value of the lessons we learn from them. But in the wise words of Oscar Wilde ‘Experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes’
For a number of unconnected reasons over the last few weeks I’ve met up or been in touch with a handful of ex colleagues – more specifically, people who have worked in teams I’ve run.
One recently retired and spending her first few months catching up with old workmates.
One I bumped into whilst out with my granddaughter and she with her toddler. Another looking for advice in deciding on a couple of job offers. And yet another a lunch date after six months of trying to find a time that suited us both.
It’s been lovely finding out what they’re all doing now and bringing each other up to date on contacts we have in common.
We also talked about projects we worked on together and I noticed that some of our memories of the same events differed.
We each saw things from our own perspective, and I began to see a pattern. The things we remembered MOST differently were events I considered personal ‘mistakes’.
I remembered them more vividly because they had a bright light of self judgment shining on them.
These things had bitten hard at the time and it was only after a period of reflection I saw how I might have handled things better.
But of course I had to make the mistakes to learn the lessons.
And in my time of running teams, these mistakes have served me well because I learned from them and rarely made the same mistake twice.
So if you’re currently beating yourself up for a mistake you’ve made, think of yourself as the Leaning Tower of Pisa where what started off as an imperfection eventually became a source of wonder.
Until next time.