Flights of Fancy

For a toddler, the thought was, “That looks like fun. Take the next step.” Unaware of the lessons waiting for me, I learned much. “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”

Baby StepsI have a memory of something, which I don’t remember.

Since all we do begins with a thought, I must have been thinking, “That looks like fun. Take the next step.”

I was learning to walk. Walk at one — Talk at two. I must have been approaching one year old.

We’ve all heard the expression, “We learn to walk by falling down.” Never to do anything according to societal norms, I took that idea to a whole new level — the Basement.

Yep, I rode that baby walker down a flight of steep stairs and sailed onto the concrete floor of the basement. Don’t remember a thing. Yet, I had recurring scary dreams of the event into my teen years.

All we do begins with a thought.

This last week, I had a phone conversation with a fellow, who wants to find purpose for his life — by, looking to others for the answer. His approach is, “I’ll know what I’m supposed to do when I feel it.”

So sorry. It doesn’t work that way. In fact, feelings flow from what we do. In other words, do the work — then, there will be the appropriate feelings.

What work?

All we do begins with a thought.

For a toddler, the thought was, “That looks like fun. Take the next step.” Unaware of the lessons waiting for me, I learned much. Among the take-a-ways, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”

As older kids, we forget that lesson and stunt our own development.

This last week, I was honored to engage in a Coaching Session of a young entrepreneur, who asked me to share my thirty years of business experience with him. In the course of our time together, these words captured the essence of his success, “Dan, the reason you learn so quickly is because you’re willing to make the mistakes.”

That is the essence of success. Make mistakes and Learn from them, quickly.

Does that mean we become loose cannons, blasting away, hurting others in our quest to learn? Simple answer is, “No.” What it does mean is — that we plan and prepare to make mistakes. “We don’t know what we don’t know.” If we want to know It, guaranteed, we will make mistakes in the discovery process.

Flights of FancyOh, and those scary dreams of bouncing the walker down the stairs — to land upright?

They became much more fun, when I let go of the fear, pulled back on the yoke, and soared into the unknown.

Go ahead, just, Do It. Strap on the knee pads, buckle on a helmet, pull on a pair of leather gloves, slip into your favorite flak jacket and take a Flight of Fancy.

www.kimfoard.com

Mistakes

Next time you’re engaged in an animated disagreement, ask this simple question: “What is more important: Process, or People?” The silence will be deafening.

OopsA recent experience with an international, multi-billion-dollar Company has been quite enlightening, as to their very broad definition of: Mistake. Is the issue merely one of semantics? Or, is there a deeper taint on our societal moral code of behavior?

Is it a “mistake” to intentionally obscure the truth and deliberately tell lies to cover up bad judgment and hurtful actions? Or, is that an unethical breach of conduct?

First of all, a quick look at the definition:

Mistake [mɪˈsteɪk]

n

1. an error or blunder in action, opinion, or judgment

2. a misconception or misunderstanding

vb -takes, -taking, -took, -taken

1. (tr) to misunderstand; misinterpret “she mistook his meaning”

2. (tr; foll by for) to take (for), interpret (as), or confuse (with) “she mistook his direct manner for honesty”

3. (tr) to choose badly or incorrectly “he mistook his path”

4. (intr) to make a mistake in action, opinion, judgment, etc.

[(meaning: to do wrong, err): from Old Norse mistaka to take erroneously]

Problems are opportunities in disguise. Mistakes are like that, too. We all have them (problems) and we all make them (mistakes). In fact, we learn by doing. So, the secret is to make lots of mistakes and embrace the opportunity to learn from them.

There is a difference, though, in the “Oh, oops” moments and the “I’m so very sorry” occasions. The first is when we make a mistake and no one else is affected by our defective actions, opinions, or judgments. The latter is when our poor choices hurt another person and we quickly ask their forgiveness, while offering to make them whole.

We learn to walk by falling down. Falling down is a mistake, if we’re desirous of walking. This kind of mistake, made in the process of learning, is of the first variety. As toddlers, we made the mistake many times, hurt no one (else), learned from it, and moved on to running.

One-on-One, as individuals, we know when the second variety of hurtful mistake is made. Generally, we recognize our folly and, immediately, apologize. Sometimes, we are unaware of the impact of our choices on another person. If that other person perceives a mistake by us, that becomes their reality and our opportunity to grow.

Relationships are built by caring about, listening to, and understanding the reality of another person. Many times, the catalyst for strengthening a relationship can be our unintentional mistakes. Mature individuals will freely communicate their perception of the impact of our choices on them. As a result, we bask in the happy moments and ask to mend the hurtful ones.

Why then does that dynamic change when an individual is an employee of a Company?

For the great sport of it, the next time you’re in an animated conversation with the representative of a Company, who is playing semantics with your emotions, and you have heard the words “mistake” and “process” one too many times, ask this simple question: “What is more important: your Company processes, or People?”

The silence will be deafening.

In that instant, a Company employee becomes an Individual, once again, and realizes that their Customer is an Individual, too!

With the situation re-framed as a relationship of One-on-One, the original “mistake” (to take erroneously) can be fixed. The stage is also set for the appropriate apologies of conduct less than ethical. If none are offered, the individual Customer will do business elsewhere; and, in time, the odds are good that the employee hiding behind the bureaucracy of Company processes will find themselves as an individual, one more time, without a Company and a Job.

Regardless of the semantics, mistakes provide the opportunities for us, individually, to grow. Mistakes will be made, guaranteed. They are the defining moments for each of us to do the right thing and build a dynamic relationship!

www.kimfoard.com