My Top 5 career screw-ups (and how they made me stronger)

My Top 5 career screw-ups (and how they made me stronger)

Have you ever wished you could restart your career knowing all that you know now?

There are a lot of lessons to be learned in business (and in life) — some harder than others. Yet, it’s not the mistakes we make, or the things we screw up that matter. It is what we learn from those events that ultimately shape where we will go and the heights we will reach. Whether or not you’ve made the same mistakes I have, here are a few lessons to take with you:

Not listening to your gut

Not to brag (well, maybe a little), but, my bullshit meter is 100% on point! Although it didn’t used to be. Perhaps it’s my age, or more than likely, it came from being burned a number of times. I have learned to pay stellar attention to that internal little nudge (or sometimes the horns blaring, flags waving jab) that serves as my warning system.

Whether it is a colleague, a career opportunity, a client, or a particular situation, when your gut is in knots – urging you to steer clear – heed it’s warning. There is no job, no client & no relationship (personal or professional) that should reek havoc on our internal warning system. If the lights go off, it’s time to move on!

Sugarcoating things

Several years ago I published a book for working moms entitled Don’t Make Me Pull This Car Over: a Roadmap for the Working Mom. While I remain super proud of the book & am a firm believer in the content, I’ve gotta admit, when I re-read the book this past year, I cringed! The writing was so soft, so tip-toey! I didn’t dive right in & say what needed to be said right off the bat. I softened the message.

So many of us make that mistake in our business lives. We work so hard to say things the “right” way and to deliver news and feedback the way we think it should be delivered, when it is best to simply put it out there. Be authentic, transparent, and to speak your truth. When you have a kind heart & say things with the intent to help, you will be much better served getting rid of the fluff.

Not using your strengths early on in your career

I am a raving fan of the Strengthsfinder assessment ( Having taken this assessment very early in my corporate career, I quickly determined that very little of my job at that time involved using my God-given strengths. Once I took time to learn more about myself and my gifts, and to determine how I could use them in my career, I was able to create a career, a client base and a life I absolutely love.

If you aren’t keenly aware of the gifts you bring to the world, take the time to find out! Then work to ensure your job or your career allows you to use them. What the world needs is more people using their gifts & who absolutely love doing so.

Letting your “To Do List” control & consume you 

Ever feel like your business and your life is running you instead of the other way around? Until you get control over the seemingly endless list of things to do, it is impossible to progress in your career. It’s time to tame the chaos, so you can make room for growth. Check out 7 Tips to Stop the Overwhelm for ideas.

Not building your tribe

Each and every one of us has a tribe.The people we turn to for advice and support. Ask yourself: are the people in your tribe building you up or tearing you down? Are they pushing you in your quest for success, or are they quietly holding you back by their own sense of complacency?

Early in my career, I didn’t realize the importance of the people surrounding me in my life. Ensure you choose wisely in ALL aspects of your life. Cultivate relationships with those on an upward trajectory — those who you can have a mutually beneficial relationship with as you grow. Not only will you enjoy having some built in cheerleaders, you will also have a network of people who truly care about you and your success. Choose wisely — after all, these are the folks who will pick you up when you get knocked down and call you out when you get a little wonky!

Start tackling these career (and life) mistakes now and watch how things take off!


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