Why sweeping your mistakes under the rug is a colossal waste and what you should do instead.
To err is human, poets tell us, but common sense offers an addendum to this old adage: to err repeatedly in the exact same way is just plain stupid.
Mistakes may be unavoidable and universal but how we respond to them varies considerably, according to psychologists. Some of us, it seems, react to mistakes with feelings of shame and inadequacy. Others respond not by beating themselves up for their stupidity but by framing the error as a chance to learn and grow. The first group thinks of their ability as a fixed quantity; the second as a work in progress. Any one want to guess who does better in the long run?
Using a series of sketchbooks, she started taking notes and making drawings to record her mistakes – such as time-management problems and hyper-perfectionism — as a personal way to remember them. “I wanted to be able to reflect on them later, so I wouldn’t beat myself up during the week,” she says. “It was a way to get more sleep.”
But as Wherry began hiring more employees, many straight out of college and new to the workforce, she started seeing them repeat mistakes she had made. So she compiled a list of her most common blunders and shared it with her employees.
"We talk endlessly of best practices in development, peacebuilding, business. You name it. I heard an excellent idea at a conference last week: why don’t we write more about worst practices?" he suggests, concluding, "we need volumes and volumes on worst practices."
In the spirit of Wherry and Blattman, what's one worst practice you could share for the benefit of other business owners?
JESSICA STILLMAN is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist. @EntryLevelRebel