Mistakes are part of being human. The more you try to excel
and push the envelope, the more mistakes you make. As you
take on large projects you also take on large risk, which
means that you sometimes experience large failures. There is
zero guarantee that every large project will succeed - which
makes it all the more admirable when someone takes the
chance and tries. You know that some projects will fail and
some will succeed. Once you have tried something new
yourself, and failed, you have more respect for other people
who take large risks and attempt to accomplish something
Given that the only people who never make a mistake are
pushing up daisies in the graveyard, you need to learn how
to accept your shortcomings and proudly wear the egg on your
face. It is a disgrace to not have experienced failure in
your adult life. No disgrace is a disgrace.
It took me eleven years to complete my Bachelors degree,
studying part-time while advancing my career and
experiencing the challenges that go along with life. I
passed many exams and failed a few over the eleven years. As
result of excelling in Information Systems and Psychology I
discovered my talents and interests in these subjects. These
became my majors for my bachelors degree.
I failed courses in advanced mathematics and barely passed
Accounting 101 on the third attempt. (Thank goodness my life
has never hinged on my inability to apply the "Theory of
sets" to anything outside the exam room - otherwise I would
We all make mistakes. I try to avoid disastrous mistakes and
learn from them where I can. However, fear of mistakes and
failure doesn't stand in my way of pursuing new goals. Nor
should fear of failure stop you for attempting new projects
Look around you, and talk with people you admire. Ask them
about mistakes and failures. They have a few to share
although they also learn from them and don't dwell on them.
Here are guiding principles for you to deal with mistakes
and failure. Obviously, you can learn most efficiently if
you talk this through with your professional coach.
1. What went wrong? (Actual results not just your view
- Keep perspective here).
2. Realistically, could there have been a better outcome?
3. What could you have done differently?
4. What have you learned from this situation?
5. What value does this experience have, that you can convey
to other people? How can you turn your mistake/failure into
a personal asset?
Project managers, small business owners and career
professionals have all made mistakes. Like you, they will
make mistakes in the future. Some are small, others are
life-changing. Knowing that you will sometimes fail helps to
keep life in perspective and savor the successes. Don't
worry about the egg on your face - wipe it off and read what
else is available on the menu of life.