I once made a mistake that cost my company about $100,000.
At the time, I don’t think I was making $10,000 a year.
My boss should have fired me. Her boss certainly thought so. But she didn’t. She hugged me and said, “Kid, if you’re going to make a mistake, make sure it’s a big one.”
In the six years I worked for that company, I made them a couple of million dollars. Maybe a couple of couple. Had she fired me, that’s money they would never have made. She knew that, and God bless her, she always remembered it. I worked for her for a few more years, and throughout the rest of my career, some of the most enthusiastic job recommendations I ever received came from her.
Did I ever make that mistake again?
You learn from the big mistakes. They force you to analyze your actions. They shine a light on what you do, and how you affect the people around you. They challenge you to craft creative solutions, so you can pick up the pieces and thrive again.They teach you humility, since they force you to say “I’m sorry.” Yet somehow, they instill confidence in you, since they prove that your actions really and truly do have consequences that are greater than you may have imagined.
I learned many valuable lessons from that one mistake… and there’s one I treasure above all others: people are not expendable. They may commit errors… in fact, it’s certain that they will… but if you view their gaffes as opportunities to teach, rather than punish, they’ll eventually pay dividends that far exceed what they may have lost you.