It might seem counter-intuitive to suggest errors are positive. But making mistakes in your business is so valuable that you probably should be trying to do it more. Of course, when I say you, I actually mean me. I have made a choice to let go of the aversion to ‘getting it wrong’. The reason? There is a lot of opportunity in making mistakes.
The value of getting it wrong is a recent epiphany for me. For many years, I tried hard to avoid mistakes. But after making a whopper, I realised how valuable it can be.
So, what was the whopper? It was the misnaming of my content service for coaches. You may have noticed that I recently changed it from Content Club to Sixty Second Social. The decision to change it was easy. Less easy was the recrimination that accompanied it. I kept thinking: why on earth hadn’t I given the name much thought before? After all, the name of a service is important. It matters. And yet I’d given it very little thought.
Giving it so little consideration was a mistake, for sure. I felt annoyed at myself. Then, after some reflection, I realised my irritation was misplaced. Many of us – including me a lot of the time – try to avoid errors at all costs. Yet they have such value! Now I think that trying to avoid mistakes in your business is the worst thing you can do. In fact, the opposite is true. Making mistakes in your business is so valuable that perhaps we should celebrate when we make them. Here’s why.
You move on from a poor decision
When I first had the idea for (what is now) Sixty Second Social, I gave little thought to the name. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that now, but it’s true. At the time, I was more focused on the ‘how’. My energy went into finding the right tech and software that would enable me to deliver a high-quality service. The name seemed to matter less. (You can read more on the thinking behind it here.)
So, given the name was of lesser importance at that point, I gave it a working title – Content Club. Now I realise that the name was a misnomer because ‘club’ suggests something more collegiate than it is. Nevertheless, I went with it.
It was only when I took a step back, I saw that I had drifted into a brand that didn’t feel right. Worse than that, I realised that the name didn’t work. It neither told people what it was about nor spoke to their problem.
The new name feels like a much better fit for the service. Social media sorted in 30 minutes a month – that’s 60 seconds a day. (I used a calculator to verify this because I’m mathematically challenged). And it is just a better name. It feels right in a way the former name never did.
There’s no doubt that it was an error to sleepwalk into an ill-fitting name. But it would have been an even bigger mistake to avoid acknowledging that I got it wrong.
After all, I could have stuck with Content Club, regardless. It was a fiddly job to update every mention of Content Club and change it to Sixty Second Social. I had to go through every blog post, every bit of the website and each piece of social media content I’d created. (If you find one that has sneaked through, please let me know!)
But had I stuck with it, I’d be sticking to a poor decision. Why would I do that? Just so I could pat myself on the back that I hadn’t chosen a duff name? Making that mistake was great because it got me started. It’s OK to rethink things as you evolve in your business and, of course, as a person. And that leads on to the next point.
Making mistakes in business is valuable because it moves you forward
Taking action is the most powerful thing you can do, even if you make a mistake in doing so. Why? It’s because even if you feel that you’ve gone in the wrong direction (as I did), you have still moved forward. In fact, there is no wrong. By taking action, you gain experiences and insights. It is all valuable learning.
None of that possible if you stay where you are waiting for perfection. Perfect name, logo, offer – it’s all a red herring.
You’ll be familiar with the saying: done is better than perfect. I really believe this is true – and I say this as a recovering perfectionist. If I wait for perfection then I could wait forever. It is more important to finish the task even if I didn’t get every specific detail right.
When the pull of perfection feels strong, I remind myself that some of the greats rushed to make mistakes. Some of them failed BIG on the way to success, as this describes. I’m in good company.
Trying to avoid mistakes in your business robs you of an opportunity
It’s all about mindset, right? Of any challenge in life or business, 90% of it is the inner game. And making errors is a fantastic opportunity to flex the mindset muscles.
My aim is to channel Thomas Edison and get to his level of resilience. The inventor of the lightbulb famously said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” What a brilliant approach!
It’s not always easy, of course, which is why we should welcome the chance to practise. For me, it’s about engaging differently with the topics I work on each day. I read and write about mindset and resilience day-in, day-out but living it is a different experience. It’s walking the talk.
You may be the same. As a professional, you are an expert in coaching your clients. You can transform their lives. But maybe you have blind spots of your own?
Adopting a growth mindset and welcoming the opportunity to grow isn’t as straightforward as we might like. It’s often tough.
But that’s the beauty of mistakes. Errors help us to adopt a mindset of always-learning by pushing us to respond.
The mistake has happened, like it or not. We choose how to respond.
After a mistake, you have the option to:
- drop your head into your hands and cringe
- deny it was a mistake and pretend you always meant that to happen
- acknowledge it was a mistake, learn and move on
- be thrilled you’ve made an error because it’s a chance to grow.
I’m not at number four yet, but I’m trying to get there. And, on the plus side, I’m no longer languishing at number one either – progress! Getting it wrong gives me the chance to practise this stuff. I’m choosing to see mistakes in my business as valuable.
So, here’s to all our mistakes – may there be many more of them!
Main photo by soulmemoria on depositphotos.com
Need more help with your social media? Take a look at Sixty Second Social
Sixty Second Social is tailor-made for coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists, and anyone working in the mental health sphere. It provides you with fresh content, curated from around the globe, each month. For £27 per month, you get links to relevant articles, together with the ready-written posts. All you have to do is upload it. In under 30 minutes each month – or 60 seconds a day, hence the name – you’ll schedule content on your social media accounts for the month ahead. Or, if you prefer, I can do it for you, saving you even more time.