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There are so many ways to say we made a mistake: botched, bungled, flubbed, mishandled, bumbled, misjudged, mucked up, fouled up, messed up, slipped up, goofed up and screwed up. In simple terms, an error has been made.

As a leader, before you get upset at someone for screwing up, try and remember they didn’t do it on purpose. Answer the questions below to help remind yourself how you have occasionally messed-up in your career:

  • Have you ever made a mistake?
  • Have you ever made a bad decision?
  • Have you ever made a poor choice?
  • Have you ever said something you regret?
  • Have you ever disappointed your boss?
  • Have you ever jumped to the wrong conclusion?
  • Have you ever made the wrong assumption?
  • Have you ever done something foolish?
  • Have you ever done something stupid?

Sometimes a simple reminder to ourselves about our past failings will allow us to be a little more tolerant of those who error. Here are a few things we should remember about mistakes:

  • They are the portal to discovery.
  • Success is built on a series of mistakes.
  • Great lessons come from the worst mistakes.
  • They should guide you not define you.
  • They are meant for learning – not repeating.
  • Forget the mistake and remember the lesson.
  • They are just another step towards success.
  • They show you are trying.
  • Expect, inspect and correct them.
  • Experience comes from mistakes.

Leadership is all about helping people perform better; mistakes are just part of the process.

I’ve heard it said many times that the only people who don’t make a mistake are the people who do nothing. What I find interesting and motivating about a mistake is the evolution in how they are classified. They first start out being called a mistake. That mistake then turns into a lesson, then we call it experience and finally it is looked upon as a gift that helped us succeed. So, the wonderful thing about making a mistake is it enhances our ability to succeed “IF” we  learn from it.

Therefore, the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.

Robert Stevenson

Robert Stevenson is one of the most widely recognized professional speakers in the world. Author of the books “How To Soar Like An Eagle In A World Full Of Turkeys” and “52 Essential Habits For Success,” he’s shared the podium with esteemed figures from across the country, including former President George H. W. Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Anthony Robbins, Tom Peters and Steven Covey. Today, he travels the world, sharing powerful ideas for achieving excellence, both personally and professionally.