I’m focused, driven, and persistent. I get so focused, I sometimes run out of the house wearing the same color from shoes to cap… I notice but am not easily distracted! Sometimes, I get a haircut a month or more after I need one. The typical entrepreneur maybe? A friend graciously used the word "passionate". So guess what… all that makes me prone to making mistakes — particularly under pressure and moving too fast.
When you are trying to make something happen, there is always a certain amount of horsetrading involved. Unfortunately, my natural talents don’t include diplomacy — the right words just don’t come naturally to me. In fact, even in the best of times, I rub many people the wrong way. I’ve lost partners for this reason. I also lost a friend once. The fact is, I make mistakes.
But I’m also a good listener and empathetic. So, I appreciate it when someone says "Whoa Eric, backdown killer — that doesn’t work for me!" Honest feedback is sometimes the mark of a friend. And in tough times like these we find out who our friends are. We are all being tested. Here’s what came back at me from two recent mistakes:
"Eric, I might have considered something more but for your curt response."
"My Mother would call that just plain rude.."
The good news is, that I am ferocious about learning of all kinds and especially from mistakes. The irony of these two particular incidents is that they resulted from misguided attempts to compensate for previous mistakes! In other words, I learned an important lesson that caused me to make these two mistakes. I got halfway to learning the proper lesson but halfway was not enough. Because these two ‘feedbacks’ came so close together, a lightbulb went off in my head and I finally closed the loop on this lesson eight years later.
I try to live my life according to a code or manifesto assembled from all the mistakes I’ve made and lessons I’ve learned. They say feedback is a gift, and I truly value being called out when it is earned. That is how I update my code and evolve as a person. So, thank you for speaking your mind, friends. It helps me improve mine every once in a while and saves relationships that deserve saving!
Curious about what I learned? Well, I habitually process disappointment in unhealthy or unproductive ways – the roots are in my childhood of course, but I won’t bore you with that. The bottom line is, with small disappointments it’s enough to understand the dynamic to avoid taking the low road. When they are big, it’s important for me to let the disappointment flow in a healthy way instead of storing it up for later. Because, when later comes around, that’s when the big mistakes fly!