The Beauty of Mistake-Making

Camaraderie makes being together worthwhile. Yet in difficult times we struggle to show up as our best.  Eyes turn to leaders for guidance. What to do? How to act? This pressure can feed a desire to avoid mistakes or even try to hide them. How we handle mistakes can erode camaraderie or build it. So, what do we do?

Scripture gives us guidance around this. 

First, recognize we are not perfect leaders and don’t let pride or ego get in the way (If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not within us. I John 1:8). 

Second, be accountable for our mistakes (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us all from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

Third, extend the same grace to others that God extends to us (Be merciful, even as your father is merciful. Luke 3:36). 

Finally, remember that we all have value, even those who make the biggest mistakes (I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14)

Here’s how to honor scripture and learn from our mistake-making.

Start with creating an environment of trust where others want to work for you and with you.  Do it by using Grant G Factor (one of eight characteristics determined by over 800 working professionals that gives us gravitational pull).

3 Things You Can do to Grant YOURSELF Latitude for Mistake-making:

1.      Reframe your mistake. Think of your mistake as:

  • a learning opportunity.
  • finding a way NOT to do something.
  • growth.
  • proof of your humanness.

2.      Release the pressure button. Follow this thread. When we are stressed, we tend to make more mistakes that could easily be avoided. It is a short-circuiting in your brain. The more pressure we put on ourselves the more stress we feel. The more stress we feel the less working memory we have. The less working memory we have the less critical thinking and problem solving we can do.

3.      Remember, we make mistakes, we aren’t the mistake. Just write that down, post it where you can see it every day, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

AND . . .

3 Things You Can do to Grant OTHERS Latitude for Mistake-making:

1.      Remember that you are not perfect. Just a friendly reminder here that you too make mistakes. When you are annoyed or critical of someone’s mistake, ask yourself, “Self, have you too made a mistake?”

2.      Ensure expectations are realistic. We are often driven by deadlines, goals, and demands others place on us. Be careful not to project the stress from these areas onto what you expect from others.

3.      Meet people where they are at. Not every person has the same experience or education that you do. This means they aren’t at the same starting point.  So, find their starting point and work from there.

Are you still not convinced that mistake-making can be a beautiful learning experience? Well, consider these two outcomes of mistakes.

Chocolate chip cookies. Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Tollhouse Inn, didn’t have the ingredients she needed, so she improvised.

3M Post-it Notes. Art Fry needed a solution for his ever-falling-out-of-the-hymnal-pieces-of-paper used to mark songs; thus, the birth of the Post-it Note.

(see G Factor: 8 Secrets to Increasing Your Gravitational Pull at Work, by Jeannette Grace for the full stories.)

When you are afraid to make a mistake, own a mistake, or grant someone latitude to do the same, remember that mistakes are inherently part of innovation and creativity.  No one can move forward by doing what they’ve always done.

Just Remember…

Mistakes can be beautiful and important stepping stones on the pathway of success. We’d love to hear from YOU! What mistakes have you or someone else made that eventually produced a really fantastic outcome? Comment below.


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Jeannette Grace

Jeannette Grace of Expressive! Communication Consulting & Training is a communication and training and development expert with over 20 years of experience. She specializes in helping clients remove communication roadblocks that get in the way of happy customers, engaged employees, cohesive teams, trusted leadership, and clear written communication. She is also the author of G Factor: 8 Secrets to Increasing Your Gravitational Pull at Work. Find out more at Follow Jeannette on social media at: Twitter: @expressivetrng Facebook: ExpressiveCCT LinkedIn: jgrace01 Instagram: jgraceexpressivecct

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