Learning from my Mistakes – The Seven Lessons of Wisdom of a Small Business Owner
“Imperfections are important, just as mistakes are. You only get to be good by learning from mistakes and you get to be real by being imperfect.” – Anonymous
The sad news is, for ten years I owned and operated a small business that ultimately failed.
The good news is, I learned priceless life-lessons from my mistakes.
Here are seven of my most valuable gifts of wisdom I gained from the experience:
- I learned to let go of my emotional attachments sooner. I learned to let go of my emotional attachments to:
- People who didn’t fit in our company culture
- Behaviors that I was tolerating
- Systems that needed to be improved
- Ideas and beliefs that were outmoded
- Fear of being judged
- I learned how to clear misunderstandings, upsets, or miscommunications sooner. There’s a price for not addressing these ASAP! I gained the courage to:
- Speak my truth sooner
- Honor my feelings sooner
- Ask for what I wanted sooner
- Risk embarrassment sooner
- Since that business failure, I have developed the habit of building and maintaining a financial reserve account. Are you reading between the lines? Yes, I did not have adequate reserves to ride out a major cash flow dip. I have also learned to nurture and balance my energy and better utilize my creative resources.
- In the past I worked really long hours and I gave myself less than I deserved financially. I also held the same standard for my staff and faculty. I learned how critical it is to balance work and play for personal and organizational health.
- I learned that leadership is not a popularity contest. As a leader, sometimes I needed to make hard decisions and not everyone was happy about them Some judged me harshly. I learned how to live with that.
- Trust. I learned the difference between blind trust and authentic trust. Blind trust was when I was not being responsible as a leader for holding people accountable. The culture of my organization transformed when I designed accountability into the operations and communications systems.
- Love. I learned to expand my capacity for receiving love. Not a word you’d expect in a business conversations, right? Being a business leader was a powerful vehicle for my personal growth. I learned how to be more humble and vulnerable – to embrace the day to day opportunities to grow as a human being. My stretch was learning how to receive the caring around me, and when I did, I gained in my self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as greater trust and respect for others.
Inquiry: What gifts of wisdom am I learning? How do I learn to appreciate my opportunities for learning?