I made a few mistakes during my time as a teacher. Often, I didn’t realize it until later. When I reviewed myself, I became aware of silly statements, awkward phrases, and just plain wrong information.
It isn’t intentional, but it happens. And as much as I try not to make mistakes, I will do it again. But how is that possible since I call myself a teacher, leader, mentor, coach, and speaker?
Well, in addition to being all of those things, I am also human.
It is not my intent to give people bad information, but at times I have. For those times, I apologize. But as Alexander Pope famously said, “to err is human, to forgive divine.”
There are many beauties to making mistakes. Mistakes remind us all that we are human. Mistakes provide the wisdom and experience we would otherwise miss out on. Learning from another person’s mistakes is wisdom. Learning from your own is experience.
As a teacher and mentor, having both wisdom and experience makes that relationship better. Mistakes allow mentees to understand that life isn’t perfect and that mistakes are part of the growth process. Mistakes remind the mentor that studying and growing is necessary for leaders, too. It is not the end of the world when people held in high regard make a mistake – it is simply a moment to show, as great as many can be, that they are still human living in an imperfect world.
The key to seeing your teacher make a mistake is to learn from it and to become wiser by learning from their mistakes. If you don’t, you will experience the lessons they’re learning for yourself. As a young man early in my military career, a mentor told me “You can make a million mistakes, you just can’t make the same on twice.” Making the same mistake over and over again makes you a slow learner and a poor leader.
What do you do when your teacher, leader, mentor, coach, or a speaker is wrong? There are a few things that you can do:
- End the relationships because your perfect picture has been tarnished
- Go tell tales of the major embarrassment
- Toss out their credibility for a bad sound bite
- Learn from it
If you learn from the mistake, you and your relationship will be better for it! Value the moment. You are at a level where you can recognize the misstep. You have the opportunity to share your observations, and you have gained the foresight on how to avoid the same mistake.
When the teacher is wrong, forgive them, communicate with them, and continue to learn the valuable lessons you are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn!
You can connect with Damien L. Butler (mailto:[email protected]) and Manifest One Empowerment Group (http://www.manifest1.com) on Twitter @DamienLButler and @TheManifestOne; on LinkedIn and see them on YouTube at 5 River Rocks TV!