Mistakes

Mistakes don't define us. Our behavior defines us. 

Mistakes are accidents. Ideally, they're one-time things. If you keep making the same mistake, then it turns into a habit.

Making mistakes is A-OK. If anything it means that you're trying new things and learning. If you keep repeating the mistake over and over again, it develops into an unproductive habit.

I saw this concept in action first-hand as a manager at my local Converse store. There was a clear dividing line between team members in terms of work ethic. There were two groups: one group consistently made mistakes, whereas the other group also made mistakes but hardly ever made the same mistake twice.

The group who consistently repeated mistakes didn't last in the business: 100% of the time. The reason the workplace chewed them up and spit them out is that they weren't willing to change their behavior. They weren't willing to take responsibility and adapt. These people were difficult to coach because they became defensive, took the coaching personally, and shifted blame.

In contrast, the group who learned from their mistakes were, by far, the best people in the business. These people were coachable, they valued their work and they wanted to do their best. They provided value. It was such a wonderful thing to see these people grow over time.

Personal responsibility goes a long way. It's not hard to accept the fact that you missed the mark, own that mistake, and do better from that moment out.

There were many times that my store manager approached me and told me that I had missed the mark. One time, the sales floor had a ton of price inconsistencies. Some items were on sale but weren't marked, some full-price items were incorrectly priced, and some items were supposed to be marked as clearance. I apologized for the mistake, I fixed the inconsistencies, and I developed an auditing method to ensure that the prices were consistent and up-to-date from that moment out.

We all have the ability to take control of our behaviors, and it's empowering to know that we can change for the better at any given moment.

Lydia Weibel