Ink on Pastel Paper – Words: Neils Borkis

When doing things people always talk about asking the expert. Find the person who knows the most and get their opinion. I love this definition of an expert as someone who has made all the mistakes that can be made. It reminds us that the best lessons we learn are the ones we gain after making a mistake. It also encourages us to make lots of mistakes, learn lots of lessons, then know how NOT to make those mistakes again.

We’ve all made mistakes, who hasn’t? It is not the making of mistakes that should leave us feeling guilty or shameful, it is failing to learn anything from the mistake which inevitably means we are destined to repeat it.

I learned a couple very valuable lessons early in my career about when to prepare for things. I took those lessons to heart and have carried them with me through many decades. I was traveling to Japan to teach for the first time to a new group after having taught in that country a couple times before. For me this was a new location, a new organization and a new approach to the conference setting. I always travel with a hard copy of my materials and I always keep them on my person. I don’t pack them, ship them, or rely on technology, I go old school. As I was walking onto the stage to present they informed me that only the Japanese version of the content would appear on screen. Whew! Glad I had a hard copy on me in English, otherwise I would have been dead in the water. Lesson learned, lesson applied.

I point this out as a reminder to us all that being prepared comes with experience and lots of mistakes. We only become good at what we do by learning, growing, applying the lessons and moving forward. Give yourself a break and know that whatever may be going wrong in your world right now is a lesson waiting to be learned. Have the courage to face it, learn it, and become better.