Make No Mistake?
Mistakes get a bad rap. Experience may be a rough teacher, but like the curriculum taught by Ms. Lambert (3d Grade, Knob Elementary, Princeton, West Virginia), you tend not to forget the lessons. Still she haunts my dreams.
My father consoled me with one of his aphorisms: “If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough.”
When we make a mistake, we are taught to apologize. Good advice. If we are not smart enough to admit our mistakes and apologize for them, we implicitly explain their origin all too clearly. But simply apologizing for mistakes under-values their worth. The reason experience is valued as a life coach is precisely due to our propensity to err. To screw up is human. If mistakes are such a fundamental part of the human experience, it makes sense to embrace them with resignation if not enthusiasm.
Understand, I am not an advocate of mistakes. Avoid them whenever possible. Again, good advice. Understand too, however, your very ability to recognize a mistake when it occurs is a positive sign. If you have a commitment to being good at what you do, then anything less is simply not acceptable. Mistakes are not the most desirable of instructors, but they teach lessons better than successes.
There is an even better reason to embrace mistakes, to recognize and incorporate their inevitable incarnations in our travel practice. If you are willing to make room for mistakes in your life, you are indicating your willingness to explore unfamiliar terrain. It is all too easy to stay in a very safe place and never encounter the opportunity for error. You will never ask for the business from a new customer, never speak in front of a new group of prospectives, never venture beyond a few friends, family and a few individuals who strayed into your path as clients. If you are willing to take a chance, to fall on your face, to take the risk that prospectively looks outsized, then your business will grow. Simple as that.
Mistakes are every bit as important as your successes. Perhaps it is too much to ask you to celebrate your mistakes, but at least give them their due as teachers and fear them less than the horrors of stasis.