Have you ever made a mistake that so big it drove you to despair? Or even depression? I’ve made my share of doozy’s but each time I learned a valuable lesson. Looking back there was one lesson that has served me, and shaped me, throughout my entire career. Watch this video now to learn my most valuable lesson.
Have you ever made a mistake so big that it drove you to despair? or even depression?
Early on in my career I made a foolish mistake that absolutely devastated me. The lesson I learned was incredibly valuable and has stood me in good stead for my entire life.
Hi I’m coach John,
When I was just beginning my corporate career I was assigned a big project where I had no previous experience.
I was asked to layout and design a sheet metal manufacturing building. Being young and bold I accepted the project with excitement and a good dose of fear. I had never before been entrusted with that much responsibility. The good news, I was thought well enough of, that I was entrusted with the project. The bad news was I got a new project and now I had to do the work.
So, I tackled the design. I got out my trusty pencil and got to work. I did time and motion studies for the first time. I interviewed employees to determine optimal throughput routes. And I drew it up.
The layout included two large, interior Gantry cranes. The rails of the largest crane ran along the edge of the building where a large roll-up door was installed. This is where the pallets of sheet metal entered the building. The crane would then pick up the material and move it to the appropriate machine.
It all seemed so simple.
Except for the fact that the roll-up door protruded into the interior space by 30 inches and The crane housing extended a couple of feet outside of the rails. And as I was inspecting the work, I realized the crane gantry would run into the roll up door casing.
This was bad.
It was going to cost money and time to buy and install new crane columns. I had to tell my boss. I sucked up my courage and shared what I had discovered. And he simply asked “how tall do the columns need to be?”
I knew he was going to ask that question so I had studied the situation and estimated the new height. I told him they need to be 14′. And we ordered the new columns. And this is where it gets really bad.
When the new columns came in, to my horror of horrors, I realized my 14′ estimate wasn’t enough. I had felt so certain that my estimate was going too be plenty high. I missed it by 3″ The new columns were still to short. I could have missed by a foot and the result would ave been the same.
I cursed at myself.
Not only had I screwed up once. I screwed up twice. I was devastated. I was embarrassed. I thought I was going to get fired. I flayed myself with a mental whip and beat myself up within an inch of my mental life. My chest began to hurt. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I had to go back in to tell my boss. It was dreadful.
My boss listened and then asked me “what needed to be done to fix the problem”. And that’s all he said. He focused on fixing the problem first. It had to be done.
I went back out, climbed a ladder and measured everything… twice. I asked my boss to double check my figures. And this time I had done the work that needed to be done. The crane was installed and the rest of the project proceeded according to plan.
But there was still a problem… a big problem…I was broken.
My confidence was at an all time low. I doubted every decision thereafter. I became an Uber perfectionist. I couldn’t make a decision. I was dejected and depressed. You could see it in my face. I just knew that everyone thought I was a fool.I was ashamed and thought I would never be trusted again.
A few days passed and My boss called me back in to his office. As I sat down he began to tell me his story about a mistake he had made early in his career. He explained that everyone makes mistakes. He pointed out how many quality decisions I had made. He assured me that I still had the right stuff. He said he had faith. He told me that not everyone has the courage to take on a big project with no prior experience. And he shared that whenever your learning something new there were always going to be mistakes. And just because I had been foolish I wasn’t a fool.
And he explained that in time it would get better.
It wasn’t the end of the world. Nobody died. Learn from it. Grow from it. Be better for it.
And then he said something that I’ve never forgotten.
He said that “the sun would still come up tomorrow”.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes since, some of them have been real doozy’s but I’ve never forgotten that lesson. Whenever I see a sunrise I remember that event.
God has a plan and some of those plans include harsh lessons, without which we can’t make the impact that God has designed for us. Mistakes are not failures. They are lessons. A foolish mistake doesn’t not make one a fool.
Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
And John Wooden said: “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”
I learned an incredibly valuable lesson from that experience. And I’ve thanked God, more times than I can count, that I had a mentor that believed in me and helped me learn and grow. I’ve made it a mission to carry this lesson forward for others.
The sun will come up tomorrow.
Before you leave, scroll down and leave a comment. Share a lesson you learned or how you helped someone else overcome their mistakes. You can help someone else learn the lesson without having to experience the pain. Keep learning, keep growing and make the impact you were meant to make..
Cheers to your success.