One of the most common statements that I hear from my business coaching clients and from people when they greet me after one of my speeches is ” I can’t make any more mistakes, they are costing me too much money!”I have thought about this statement over the years since it is so common and wondered if it was true. I decided to do some research about how many mistakes there had been that have created a tremendous amount of money.
First, I think it would be helpful to define what a mistake is. For the purpose of this article, a mistake is any outcome that was not originally intended. So, with that in mind, here are a few of the products that made it big:
- White Out
- Post It Notes
- Silly Putty
And the list could go on almost indefinitely.
These products were all created accidentally by mistake. The results of these mistakes, however, are billions of dollars in annual revenues!
So, what makes a mistake valuable? One of my Gary-isms that I have used over the years is “God cannot steer a parked car.” What makes mistakes valuable is our ability to adjust to the outcomes. Many people, when they receive an outcome that is not beneficial to them, simply accept that outcome as their fate. They don’t take it to the next step of asking questions like “how can I use this result or situation to better my life and the lives of other people?”They see the result as a roadblock instead of just a detour sign.
So, what are the steps then that you can use today to create tremendous value out of making mistakes?
First, continue to make mistakes, faster! This may seem like a stupid statement. I am not saying to go out and blindly engage in activities without knowing what your desired outcome is. What I am saying is, keep moving. If we get frozen with fear of not wanting to make a mistake, we are guaranteeing a negative result.
Second, identify what is working and not working quickly. A fatal mistake is not adjusting your course constantly. Most of the time, it will be the very small adjustments that will produce positive outcomes. An airplane in flight is off course 99% of the time. It’s only by continuously adjusting back to the desired heading that the airplane arrived at the desired destination.
Third, eliminate the belief that making mistakes is bad. Beliefs are one of the most powerful elements in the universe. Quite a statement I know, but beliefs quite literally control our subconscious, which makes it virtually invisible. If we hold on to the belief that making mistakes are bad and wrong, then most likely we will emotionally put our foot on the break of our activities. It would be like if you’re in a car with your right foot on the accelerator pushed all the way to the floorboard, and your left foot firmly planted on the break. No matter how much energy you put the wheels, you’re not going to get to where you want to go.
I encourage you to give yourself permission to engage in risk-making mistakes. When you see making a mistake as an opportunity rather than a disappointment you’ll find yourself creating a life worth living.