About Your Mistakes

The Client Letter
May 20, 2013
The Northland
Rain and Wind 41 Degrees

I had an organ teacher once who was fond of saying, “practicing means playing perfectly.”

Her point was that you will play like you practice. So practice slowly enough that you play perfectly all the time. That will carry through to your live performances.

Despite this, I still made a ton of mistakes over the years. I made them in music, in business and in life.

My “training” told me mistakes were bad. But after I started to “wake up,” I realized that a mistake is really the only place you learn something when you’re out in the world.

If you’ve been a reader of the Client Letter for any length of time, you’ve had the opportunity to watch in real time as I make mistakes in an effort to be valuable.

Sometimes I create things that are clearly good ideas in MY mind that crash and burn out in the wild.

Every now and again, I get it just right and the world responds in a big way.

I make mistakes with clients too. In fact, I’ve made very expensive client mistakes. The one I remember most vividly had a price tag of about $10,000+. I was new in the business and it scared me to death. (Note to self: You still lived.)

The only way out of a mistake is to plow right through it.

Accept who you are and what you’ve done even if you might not LIKE who you are or what you’ve done. There is power in that.

Have confidence and do the best you can in the moment. Anyone who expects more from you than that will need to deal with those issues on their own.

More importantly, your acceptance opens the way forward. You apologize when you need to and think nothing less of yourself for the learning opportunity.

If you shrink back from every mistake you make, 2 years from now you’ll be a shadow of your real self. 2 years after that, you’ll be even less.

This is about winning the war (OK, it’s not a war) not the battle.

Mistakes are how you become MORE tomorrow. You take the experience the mistake brings and you add it to your wisdom. You become more valuable because of it.

Don’t get stuck in your movie, just watch it and see it for what it is… a movie. Have some popcorn and enjoy the show… you’re the star!