We all make mistakes, especially in business. There is a no “Golden Rule” book to follow to guarantee our success, unfortunately we have to figure it out as we go. I often meet business owners who beat themselves up over the mistakes they have made in the past. There is no benefit in doing this, but it is hard not to. The big problem is that business owners can lose confidence in themselves and stop taking risks, which is the underpinning and essential characteristic of successful entrepreneurs.
Please don’t beat yourself over mistakes you have made in the past. They are wonderful opportunities that can save you enormous grief and money in the future. Let me explain.
With a 25 year business history it is fair to say I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. I used to beat myself about this all the time until one day I realised that this really served no purpose. I felt the need to come to terms with my mistakes and then to turn the mistake into a learning experience that I could profit from.
So now whenever I make a mistake, large or small, in particular one that cost me money, I tell myself that I have just completed another lesson in life and this lesson has cost me “x” amount of dollars. I look at this as an investment in myself and I believe that next time a similar situation arises, I won’t make the same mistake, which will end up saving me, or making me, far more money than I initially lost.
I had a situation that cost me about $100,000 a few years back. I did some work for a telecommunications company and I was going to get paid a commission for the results I achieved, which in this case was the number of telephone accounts I generated for the business.
I did a huge amount of work but sadly the company went broke. Even sadder for me, I had generated about a 1000 new accounts over a 6 month period. This really knocked the wind out of my sails, especially after all of the time and energy that I had invested and the other work I had knocked back to focus on this project.
Today similar opportunities present themselves to me all the time and I refuse to take part in any joint venture arrangement unless I know that my JV partner is financially secure. My “learning lesson” a few years back has gone on to not only save me a pile of money, now it is now making me a good deal of money.
I have had so many of these experiences I could write a book about them. In fact I use many of these experiences in my books and my keynote presentations to illustrate the points that I want to make.
Smart, successful people learn and grow from their mistakes. Even though this can be really hard, get angry, get upset, then let the dust settle and turn the experience into one that you can profit from.