How to Never Make the Same Mistake Again
My January got off to a piss poor start.
I started the year by saying yes to doing something that ended up wasting my time and my team’s time.
Had I actually thought through it before I said yes, I would have seen it was obviously not the right move.
For someone who prioritizes efficiency and momentum, this was very frustrating.
But it got me thinking about mistakes.
It would have been easy to excuse this away and not classify it as mistake, but while that would make me feel better, it would hold me back.
So I’m not running from the errors, I’m deconstructing them.
Here’s my step by step process for deconstructing and correcting your mistakes. I hope it helps you avoid some of my recent errors.
1. Admit you’ve made a mistake and that it’s entirely your fault.
This may be the hardest thing on the list to comply with, but it’s also the most important. People really struggle with this part because it causes emotional distress by creating a rift between how you think of yourself and how you actually are.
That is deeply unpleasant. And absolutely critical for moving forward.
Face it head-on. In fact, lean into the pain. See yourself as you are so that you can accurately adjust.
2. Identify whether the mistake was one of poor judgement or poor performance.
Not all mistakes are the same. They arise from different types of inadequacies.
Accurately identifying what type of mistake it was is very important to solving the problem and not just blindly lashing yourself for messing up. Performance issues feel worse in the moment because they usually mean that the failure was visible to others and most people consider public embarrassment a fate worse than death.
However, failures generated for poor judgement are FAR more dangerous. When you fail to perform it will sting and that sting will often prompt the kind of self-reflection that’s necessary to do the hard work of improving.
Poor judgement, on the other hand, is often invisible and only noticed if you’re very careful in your personal reflections and are good at seeing when you’ve stopped making progress on your goals.
To ensure that you catch this type of mistake, you’ve got to take pride in measurable progress and pride in a willingness to stare nakedly at your inadequacies. Otherwise, you’re emotionally incentivized not to notice your poor judgement.
3. Seek help from others.
If you don’t have clarity on what flaw in your thinking or skillset led to the mistake at hand, seek out people you trust that are as close to the situation as humanly possible to give you feedback.
It is a sad truth of humanity that most of us cannot see ourselves clearly. As such, we need to surround ourselves with people who are willing to tell us the truth.
And we must welcome, and in fact, celebrate their insights into where we’re going wrong.
4. Create a very specific map for avoiding the problem in the future.
This will either be a plan of skill acquisition or of creating an improved method for your decision making. No one is good at everything, and you will often find yourself in a situation where your individual talents simply are not yet up to the task of reaching your goals.
Therefore, you’ll need to develop a way of approaching things that work around whatever blind spot or bias led to the problem in the first place. Don’t feel badly about the fact that you have deficiencies. The idea isn’t to be perfect; the idea is to build systems that address your imperfections.
I hope all of that helps! It has certainly helped me continue to refine my thinking and my processes.
Until next time, my friends, be legendary!
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