A mistake is an opportunity to learn

What can I learn?

Finding myself all worked up about not hearing back from a colleague in response to an email I’d sent a week ago, I started feeling disregarded, marginalized and unimportant. In a word, “angry.”   My wife and I talked about this situation at length and concluded the best thing to do was to face the situation directly: talk to the person I’d sent the email to and find out “wassup?”  Even though I don’t like fault-finding and placing blame, I found myself finding all kinds of things wrong with the other person (“What’s the matter with them? It’s rude not to answer emails!”).

As I considered the situation in a more methodical and detached manner I felt more settled in my breath. in another word. I calmed down. then a thought came, ” I’ll check to see when I sent my email out.” Made sense, right?

So I searched through my “Sent” folder and, after considerable hunting I discovered there was no record that I’d sent out that email!  I stayed cool. I moved on to the next logical action. I switched over to the “Drafts” folder and there it was– still sitting, on my computer.

Whoops!  I had made a mistake. I had gotten all worked up about someone else for something I had done, or not done. I took up a lot of mental and emotional hard drive all because I made an error.

So what did I do next? I quickly sent an email of apology, and I learned something from my wife. When she sends out an email she routinely checks, right away, if it went out or not. At first I thought, “Oh, I don’t have time for that!”  But on reflection, aren’t I taking up a lot more time, and energy, over my own mistakes that could have been avoided?

Think about it. What was your last “mistake”? Did you stay calm? What did you learn from it?

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