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SWaynePow'Rful Presentations Newsletter
May 2010 - Mistakes and failure
Pow'Rful Presentations is a relatively monthly investigation of ideas, strategies and techniques to assist readers be more present in life, better project leaders and make effective presentations (in all senses of the word).
Disclaimer - depending on your background, and my South African origins, you may find some of my spelling and grammar to be "imaginative".
© Wayne Botha 2010
Minor mistakes, major mistakes and failure
We all make mistakes - how can you best recover, and proudly wear the egg on your face?
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 new. 
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 be sunk.)
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 or initiatives.   
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.
My embarrassing moment of the week. 
Although this is a relatively monthly newsletter, I seem to generate enough embarrassing moments to fill a daily journal. 
I have contribute to the IT profession for more than the past twenty years. I have taught students around the world various topics, including the importance of user names and strong passwords to audit computer activity. I have warned students that some users compromise security when they write down their username and password on a sticky note pasted on the computer monitor. I have also cracked many jokes about incompetent computer users.
I recently mistyped my username and password for a website and was locked out. I called customer service for this national website. During the identification process, the customer representative asked me for my home address, prepared for the inevitable "Can you please repeat that", sparked by my accent that customer representatives usually misunderstand.
I was about to spell out the street name, when the customer representative said it was not necessary.  I thought that the customer representative was extremely intelligent, sensing that she was speaking to a seasoned IT professional and was sharp enough to catch my address on the first try. I complimented her on her quick understanding. She replied "Thank you. But honestly, I recognized your accent from when I helped you when you had locked yourself out of this account, last month."    
Do you know someone who is stuck and not progressing towards a goal? Contact me and I will schedule a sample coaching session to see if we can work together.
Do you need a speaker for your IT or Project Management conference? Contact me and let's discuss if I am the right speaker for your event.
Get more value on my blog, facebook and   View Wayne Botha's profile on LinkedIn

Email me with any problems or questions that you have about project management or presentations and I will attempt to address them in a future newsletter.

More next time!

Wayne Botha

Copyright 2017 Wayne Botha Email Wayne Cell: 860.214.4897