Don’t be an ID10T — Learn From Your Mistakes

You can find career advice in a lot of different places. But you have to pay attention.  The other day, Cathy my wife, received an email that was making the rounds of her friends.  Check it out…

I had a problem yesterday, so I called Eric, the eleven year old next door, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control and asked him to come over.

Eric clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

As he was walking away, I called after him, ‘So, what was wrong?

He replied, ‘It was an ID Ten T error.’

I didn’t want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired,  “An, ID Ten T error? What’s that? In case I need to fix it again.”

Eric grinned…. “Haven’t you ever heard of an ID Ten T error before?”

“No.” 

“Write it down and I think you’ll figure it out.”   So I wrote down:
 
ID10T 

Eric was being a smart-assed kid, but there is some career advice in this little story.

Tweet 36 in my latest career advice book Success Tweets says, “Don’t be afraid to fail.  You fail only if you don’t learn something from the experience.  Treat every failure as an opportunity to grow.”

Most people fear mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection.  It’s only normal.  We all want to feel good about ourselves.  Mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection are not pleasant experiences.  They lower our self esteem and make us feel bad about ourselves, so we often avoid doing things that we think might lead to mistakes, failure, criticism or rejection. 

However, if you want to become create the life and career success you want and deserve to be, you have to have the courage to do things that might result in mistakes, failure, criticism or rejection.  More important, you have to learn from mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection.  If you don’t, you’re an ID10T.

Failure, criticism and rejection provide you with the opportunity to grow and develop – to succeed.   You can’t take mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection personally.  Mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection are outcomes.  They are a result of things you have done.   They are not who you are.  We all make mistakes and fail.  We all do things that cause others to criticize or reject us.  This doesn’t mean that we are failures.  It means that we have made some poor choices and done some not so smart things.

Mistakes, failures, criticism and rejection provide the opportunity to start over – hopefully a little smarter.  Buckminster Fuller once said, “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence of trial and error experience.  Humans have learned only through mistakes.”

That’s why fear is the enemy of self confidence and career success.  Take it from a career success coach.  If your fear of making a mistake, failure, criticism and rejection paralyzes you to the point where you aren’t willing to take calculated risks, you’ll never learn anything or accomplish any of your career success goals.  You’ll be an ID10T.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake or fail, or when others criticize or reject you.  My best career advice is to put your energy into figuring out why you failed and then do something different.  Here are four career success coach questions to ask yourself the next time you make a mistake, fail or get criticized or rejected.  They will keep you from becoming an ID10T.

  1. What mistake did I make?  Why did I fail?  Why did I get criticized or rejected?  What did I do to cause the mistake, failure, criticism or rejection?
  2. What could I have done to prevent the mistake, failure, criticism or rejection?
  3. What have I learned from this situation? 
  4. What will I do differently the next time?

If you do this, you’ll be using failure, criticism and rejection to your advantage.  In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”  I know it’s hard to see the benefit or opportunity in failure, criticism and rejection.  But it’s there – you just have to look hard enough.  But it all begins by facing your fear and acting.  The less you fear mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection the more career success you’ll create.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  You are an ID10T if you don’t learn from your mistakes and failures.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people face their fears and act.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 36 in Success Tweets.  “Don’t be afraid to fail.  You fail only if you don’t learn something from the experience.  Treat every failure as an opportunity to grow.”  Our most common fears are failure, criticism and rejection.  Follow this career advice.  Choose to find — and use — the learning opportunity in your failures and you will become more self confident and successful.   It’s sad but true – mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection are often the tuition you pay for becoming a career success.  Facing your fear of failure, criticism and rejection and acting will pay big dividends when it comes to your life and career success – and you won’t be an ID10T.

That’s my career advice on not being an ID10T and learning from mistakes, failure, criticism and rejection.  What your take?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my career success musings.  I appreciate you.

Bud

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