Last week, I wrote a draft of a blog and saved it to my “My Blog” folder, planning to return to the piece to edit it before my Monday publishing time. Due to my speaking and traveling schedule, I knew I would not have any wiggle room on this one. When I went to pull up the blog on Monday, however, it was not in the folder where I saved it. The document path showed up in my “Open Recent” list but alas, it would not open.
I missed a publication date for the first time in years. And you probably don’t care why, do you? “Excuses, excuses. Blah blah blah…” Really, all you care about is that you’re reading this blog, now.
My blog is not the only thing I dropped in the past week. Over the weekend, for instance, I was in charge of many aspects of the Foundations Weekend Training with the Wright Foundation in Chicago. One of my roles was making sure the sales table was staffed. I knew there were some gaps in the schedule, and I never addressed them fully prior to the training, figuring we’d work something out over the weekend itself.
Sunday rolled around and there was no more time to spare. All of a sudden we had an urgent situation on our hands. People were starting to come to the table to sign up for programs, and we did not have people there to help them.
Oops. I was in a bit of trouble from the people supervising me.
Finding Solutions Together
Thankfully, there were other people in the room who could help. We put our heads together, trained people on what they needed to be trained on, and covered the gap in staffing.
I learned a lot over the weekend about how to handle mistakes. People do not like to hear excuses and explanations of why you made the mistake. They want you to acknowledge the drop and figure out a solution. And they want to stay in relationship with you as you fix the mistake.
In the past, when I have made mistakes, I have often defaulted to ineffective excuses and defenses, not wanting to be seen as unreliable. I have believed that if a mistake is my fault, I will be fired or abandoned. If I could put responsibility on someone else, then, in my world of mistaken beliefs, I would not have to “take the blame.” As you’ve probably gathered, I have spent plenty of time and energy beating myself up, which means I have not been paying attention to the people around me who could help think through options and even be part of the solution.
I’ve been told for a long time to “celebrate mistakes” (I even wrote a blog about it), and I have not been doing a great job of it. But this past weekend, I got an inkling of how to do that. At this Foundations Weekend, I figured out more than how to staff the sales table. I learned that I am unlikely to be fired for making mistakes if I take responsibility for quickly finding a solution. I tapped into the joy of teamwork when something needs fixing. And I discovered that I can manage to remain pleasant and delightful to be around even when I’ve done something wrong!
So yeah, I lost my blog. But I’m not complaining. I wrote what I hope is a better one, and now the other topic seems like yesterday’s news. I am looking forward, with no excuses.