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The Right Way to be Wrong


The great coach John Wooden said, “I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”


Too many mistakes and you lose credibility. Too few mistakes and you’re dead in the water, you can’t lead.

5 ways to get good at mistake making

  1. Don’t make the mistake of letting your mistakes defeat you. Maintain momentum and enthusiasm even when you fail. Churchill wisely said, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
  2. Don’t pretend you know when you don’t. Rather than pretending, proclaim your ignorance. Say things like, “I’ve never led a marketing team before but I’m up for the challenge.” Making mistakes is easier if others know you don’t know.
  3. Celebrate your successes and your mistakes. Celebrating mistakes freaks people out and that’s always fun. In addition, stories of your mistakes can be humors, endearing, and most importantly, educational. Finally, explaining a good screw-up before sharing a success prevents you from looking arrogant.
  4. It’s a mistake to run from mistakes. After owning a mistake, begin the next sentence, “Next time …” Eli Siegel observed, “If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake.”
  5. Please don’t be a whining, cry baby. You look weak when you make excuses. It’s better to, “Admit your errors before someone else exaggerates them,” Andrew V. Mason.

Everyone wonders, “What if I make a mistake?” The better question is what if you don’t?

How can people become good mistake makers?

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