I screwed up yesterday. Woohoo!

OopsYesterday I made a massive mistake that was both awkward, stupid and painful.

I had a really important meeting with a large group of people from a client – and somehow that meeting wasn’t in my calendar. The meeting was at 1 o’clock, which I found out when one of them called me at 1:05 to ask where I was.

And this is not only a big client, this was the kick-off meeting for that project, and I forgot to go. I felt awful.

But then I remembered my own advice about celebrating mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes at work. But rather than hide them and be embarassed, it is much better to celebrate your mistakes with others.

So let me reframe that: WOOHOO – I forgot a meeting.

This is not to say that I take forgetting my commitments lightly or that I plan to miss more meetings.

This is simply to say that mistakes are inevitable – the key thing is to learn from your mistakes, so you don’t have to make the same ones over and over. Instead, you can move on to make bigger and better mistakes.

As Samuel Beckett put it:

Ever tried.
Ever failed.
No matter.
Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better.

I have rescheduled the meetings with the client who took it very nicely and I do plan to be there this time. I may even bring cake to celebrate my mistake :-)

Got a mistake you’d like to celebrate? Share it in the comments.

4 thoughts on “I screwed up yesterday. Woohoo!”

  1. oof nice screw up!
    Cool idea about the cake. Could you get one made with a calendar on it? :)
    Reminds me of the story in Danny Meyer’s book Setting the Table where a famous person dined in his restaurant and found a beetle in their salad. Next time they came back, he had the chef write the word ‘Ringo’ on a piece of paper and put it in the salad so there would be a beetle in that one too. It become a talking point which turned the fail into a positive story.

  2. Oh boy. Good one. I think as soon as someone makes a mistake like that, their temperature goes up, as does their heartrate and they’ll immediately look for a scapegoat. The train was cancelled, the dog ate my calendar, my shoes were on fire! And the stress actually increases. Better to be upfront, apologise, take the hit, mitigate any damage – then celebrate the learning you’ll get from it. Great tip Alex. :)

  3. In my early tech career I had a boss who told me two valuable things. 1.) If you didn’t make mistakes I would think you weren’t working. 2.) We’re not about blame, we’re about solutions. Imagine having a boss who celebrates, welcomes and expects mistakes! That leads to healthy risk taking and empowered employees. It also contributes to a great culture where everyone is honest and transparent. Disfunction happens when people try to hide their mistakes. Thanks for this post!

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