If You’re Not Making Mistakes, You’re Fired.

Most people in their jobs or client relationships worry about “getting fired” for making mistakes. Indeed, we all make them—and as Alan Mooney, a close friend and former colleague likes to put it: if we aren’t making mistakes, then something is wrong. In fact, he sums this policy up in one simple statement:

“If you are NOT making mistakes, then you’re fired.”

Fired, indeed! The point he emphasized with a touch of jest is that if you are working and focused on desired outcomes, mistakes are inevitable.

Don’t allow this reality to keep you from stretching outside your comfort zone. The only way to avoid making mistakes is to slack off and do nothing. And none of us get paid for that, now do we?

Harry Beckwith in his book Selling the Invisible puts it plainly when he cites a common false belief: “Failure is failure.”

In the brief chapter, he cites one historical example after another, from companies such as Avis, 3M and FedEx of how their leaders made more mistakes than not to reach their ultimate victory. He concludes: “If you’re doing anything worthwhile at all, you will suffer a dozen failures. Start failing so you can start succeeding.”

It also leads me back to when I was leading one of my earlier Prospect & Flourish boot camps, and one real estate agent sitting in the program made this remark about making canvassing calls: “Every NO that I receive over the telephone brings me one step closer to a YES.” Indeed, while every “no” you may hear over the phone may not constitute a mistake or failure on your part; it does get you closer to creating a result that’s closer to the one you seek.

As this country grows and matures through the recent recession, adopting this mindset will be crucial if we are to arrive safely on the other side. In fact, the word “failure” ought to be removed from our vocabulary. From a purely objective standpoint, there is no such thing as success or failure…there are only results. You either create a result you seek, or you don’t.

Consider this deeply the next time you reach out to set up an interview with a prospective client or employer. Indeed it is one of the greatest barriers to effective prospecting: not trying. An outcome is inevitable, be it from your action or inaction. Act. If you do not create the outcome you seek, so be it. But the question before you then is this:

“How can I use this outcome to bring myself closer to the result I seek to create?”

But don’t let this question overwhelm you. In some ways, the best method to achieving our desired outcome is to not obsess over it. Hence the age-old expression: “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.”

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