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Want to grow your business? Make mistakes.

My daughter came home crying last week.

She recently got her first job, picking up a neighborhood boy once a week from his after school program, taking him to his swim class and then home.

The first two weeks things went very smoothly and I was proud of her. But last week she messed up.  First, she texted me to say that she was “taking a detour” after school and would be late getting home.  As it turned out, she had forgotten when she was supposed to pick him up. She arrived 45 minutes late, and he missed his swim class.   She was supposed to take him to the doctor’s after the swim class. She not only got off at the wrong subway stop, but also walked in the opposite direction from the doctor’s office.  In the end, they had to take a cab, an expense for the Mom.

“I took him the wrong way!  My literal job is to make sure he doesn’t do that!” she exclaimed through her tears.  The tears were mostly of embarrassment, but also from a sense of failure.

How I relate to the embarrassment of screwing up!  As an entrepreneur, it feels like I fail somehow every day.  And every mistake stings.

Recently I emailed someone who had signed up for my 5-Day Abundance Challenge to encourage her to start working on the lessons, only to realize that I had emailed the wrong person.  I have been known to double book appointments, lose track of emails, forget to follow up and even completely blank on whole conversations.  I have overlooked billing a monthly coaching fee, which meant I had to sheepishly call my client and explain that she now owes me for two months.  I’ve made mistakes on emails that go out to thousands of people. The list goes on and on.

Frankly, these screw-ups are for me the hardest part of being an entrepreneur.   I battle with the aspiration to do it all “perfectly,” which just isn’t possible.

After the flow of my daughter’s tears lessened, we talked about what she could do to make things right; specifically, what to say to the Mom and how.

1. First, apologize. Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of apologizing. I believe we over apologize in life. Many times we don’t really mean “I’m sorry,“ we mean “Please bear with me.“ or “Oops! I didn’t mean to do that.“ or “Pardon me.” Watch yourself for a few days and see how often you apologize for small things that you really don’t need to be sorry for!

There is value, though, in acknowledging to the other person that you realize you made a mistake, and owning up to your part in any bad consequences. Isabel had already said “sorry” quite a few times to the Mom, but I encouraged her to be more specific, saying “I realize I did not live up to my commitment and I am sorry for that.”

2. Offer reparation. In the 25+ years I have been in business as an entrepreneur, I have learned that if someone is unhappy with my service, it’s helpful to offer a way to make up for it. For me, it could be in the form of an extra coaching session or two. About half of the time, the gesture alone is enough to make people happy, and they don’t even take me up on it. In Isabel’s case, I suggested that she let the Mom know that she didn’t have to pay Isabel for the day.

3. Then make a commitment to the future. I tell clients that they need not live forever in the shadow of a “failure”. Forgive yourself and focus on what’s next. I counseled Isabel to say, “You can count on me to be on time moving forward.” This is the most important part because it’s how you rebuild trust. Of course, that trust will stick only if you live up to your words.

I believe that making mistakes is a crucial part of growing your business.  Being an entrepreneur is inherently risky, so if you’re not making mistakes, it means you’re not taking risks.  Every action can seem magnified in importance when your business is on the line. But in all my years of coaching I’ve yet to see a mistake that my client didn’t recover from. Business is remarkably resilient.  Isabel was afraid she’d lose the job. In the end, the Mom stuck with her and insisted on paying her for that day.

Knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it any less stressful.  But if you follow these three steps, you can move past your breakdown, learn from the experience, and continue to express your brilliance.

Tired of working so hard to make your business a success?  Want to make more money and get more clients with ease?  Take my free 5 Day Abundance Challenge and leverage the power of my proven three step system for creating abundance.  Sign up today!

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Three quick tips on creating a powerful vision (plus a song!)

Would you ever get into your car and start to drive without a destination in mind?  Imagine taking random turns left and right, going down roads not knowing where they will lead, sometimes pressing on the gas and sometimes on the brake depending on what the road is like or what gets in your way.  You’d end up goodness knows where and probably feel lost and aimless.

That’s exactly what you’re doing with your life when you don’t have a clear vision to guide your actions and goals.  In this video I discuss three tips on creating a powerful vision.  Listen in, sing along, and go to my website to sign up to receive information about future events!

 


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Are you solving problems you don’t have?

Did you know that a major obstacle keeping people from achieving their goals is that they spend their mental energy on solving problems they don’t even have?  I call this “The Governor of Kentucky syndrome”, as illustrated by a personal story I heard from Marilyn Graman, a Psychotherapist, Workshop Creator and Leader, Author, Interfaith Minister, and Shaman Practitioner in New York City:

Two women ate lunch together in a small Kentucky town after not having seen each other for some time. Continue reading


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3 tips for getting everything you want this holiday season (and in life)

My mother used to tell a story about a Christmas morning early in her marriage to my father.  She had her eye on a certain camelhair coat displayed at a department store.  Her anticipation grew as Christmas drew near because a box appeared under the tree that was exactly the right size for the coat.  She described how she reserved opening that particular present for last. Finally, she tore off the paper, opened the box, and… it was a toilet seat cover! Even telling the story decades later her face would contort in an expression of disappointment and resentment.  It was meant as a practical joke by my father, but it fell flat, and he still rues the day he bought it. Continue reading


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A Father’s Day fastwrite – The Good Life

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland

I saw this quote posted on Facebook on Father’s day.  It reminded me of my father right away.  He is a simple man, low maintenance, you might say, never wanted much more for himself or for us than to be happy, whatever that looked like.  Although he did do some telling us how to live, actually, but the advice was always stemming from his love and care for us. Continue reading


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How resilient are you in the face of breakdown?

At the beginning of my seminars I ask attendees to share what they want to create as a result of participating. People say things like, “get a new job” or “find my soul mate” or “earn more money,” “get healthy” or “lose weight.” What I find interesting is that for the most part the things they want to create are already within their reach.   Take the topic of being healthy for instance. Everyone knows how to lose weight, right? Eat less, exercise more. But if it were that straightforward (I won’t say easy) wouldn’t everyone be healthy? Continue reading


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The Curse of the Airfare

I don’t know when time started to speed up, but in the past few years I’ve noticed that once school begins in September, the events start coming fast and furious.  Just as we finally get settled into a routine for school, it’s time to start thinking about what costumes my kids want to wear for Halloween.  And if Halloween is here, well then Thanksgiving and Christmas can’t be far behind. Continue reading