Let’s talk about mistakes.
So last Sunday I was in New York to attend a workshop on getting a six-figure book deal.
It has been a tough few days. I had just been dealing with no power and no hot water in Greensboro for two days due to Hurricane Michael. Which means I had been without wifi and my team hadn’t been able to reach me and my kids were missing school…
Oh, and a tree kinda’ fell on my brand new house.
Which meant I took my entire family + babysitter with me on my business trip to NYC. (hello airbnb!)
On top of that, I had been working on this book idea for weeks and was totally heads-down trying to get it finished before this workshop. This was a major opportunity to get to pitch my idea to some top agents in the industry and I wanted to make sure I nailed it.
So when I woke up on Sunday morning in my cute temp apartment, I just took this giant sigh of relief…my kids were fine, my house was fine, I was in New York, my book idea was ready. I had managed to get through it all and come out the other side.
Then I opened my email and saw that my team had sent out the weekly newsletter…
And there was a BIG-ASS mistake in it. Like, a cringe-worthy, hide under my amazingly soft 4-star pillow kind of mistake.
It was one of those moments when I was like “alright, I’m deleting the internet and I’m going to go work at a law firm and who wants to be a seven-figure CEO anyways?!”
Sometimes mistakes happen. My copywriter had made a typo when she was editing the newsletter, my team had been hustling to get things finished and hadn’t caught the mistake and I had been without internet or phone dealing with the whole tree-on-house situation so I hadn’t been able to give it one last review.
Nothing out of the ordinary. And yet, here I was, sitting in a hotelYork, feeling like a total idiot. Half of me was pissed at my copywriter and team for missing the mistake and half of me was pissed at myself for letting it slip through the cracks. After all, I’m the boss, and when shit goes wrong, the buck stops with me.
If you run your own business, you’ve probably been here too. Over the last week, I’ve been telling this story to my clients and hearing all kinds of stories about frustrating mistakes: missed appointments, technical issues, forgetting words during a speech, billing errors. The only thing I can promise my clients (and myself!) is that mistakes are going to happen. It’s a guarantee.
So, here’s what to do when you make a mistake:
- Shake it off. Like literally turn on this song and shake it the fuck off!
- Correct the mistake with honesty and grace. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t make excuses. Admit what happened and ask your client / partner / audience / team for understanding and a sense of humor. We’re all human and they get that.
- Check with your team or yourself and try to understand if the mistake happened because of a larger process issue that needs to be corrected or because of a one-off situation that couldn’t be avoided (i.e. shit just happens).
- Remember, mistakes are a byproduct of DOING. If you aren’t making any mistakes, you probably aren’t doing the shit you need to be.
Alright, I gotta go get a tree out of my house…