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It takes a lot of courage to walk up to someone and admit that you fucked up. It’s much more difficult to say “I am sorry”.
Our mistakes make us look bad — or so we think — and hence, a lot of us put up a white blanket of excuses on them. Every time someone questions our work or the deadline we missed, our natural defense system kicks in and it starts justifying our stance from every corner possible.
“Committed a mistake” can easily top the list of “Things That Make You Look Stupid”. If it’s a “silly” mistake, it’s going to go down in the list of “The Most Embarrassing Things That Happened To Me”.
In certain workplaces, mistakes are frowned upon; after all, failure is the first step to getting fired. Given this, we become too scared of the consequences that come with admitting a mistake.
We don’t know what category we will get filed in if we own up. But what if we don’t take responsibility for our shit?
In many more workplaces, mistakes are celebrated; after all, a mistake is the first step to a milestone. Given this, by not owning up to our mistake, we risk learning, wisdom, and most importantly, credibility.
When you walk up to your boss and tell her/him — “Hey! I know I fucked up. But now, I am looking for any suggestions/advice you can offer so I can bring this up to speed and close it” — you look far more confident than you did a minute ago.
A genuine apology makes you look credible, trustworthy and human — characteristics that not many can contain in modern workplaces. Owning up is for the courageous.
So today, remember to take up the responsibility for your actions.
There’s a difference between having an idea and executing it. Both lie on opposite end of a spectrum and require different values of forces to matter.
We all know that one person who has truly amazing, world changing ideas. Some of them had the idea of Facebook, some of Uber, some of Netflix & so many more. But I bet you don’t remember them.
The thing with ideas and the people who share them is that the ones we truly remember are those who created something out of it.
Nobody remembers the person who had an idea to change the world. We remember those who did.
You might have an idea of ending poverty, of fighting global warming, of creating the next-big unicorn and a thousand more. But the problem is that all these ideas are just, well, ideas.
You have to be willing to test your ideas in rough waters of the world and figure out its worth. If you let your idea sit on a presentation deck or in the head of your boss, there’s a high chance that someone else may pick it up and do something about it.
We need to understand an important thing: what separates the winners from the lazies is that winners are lazy enough to get the ideas and productive enough to create something out of it.
Where does this start?
This conversation of action needs to further go down in the culture of our workplaces. We should be appreciative of an idea & encouraging for action on it.
What do we do?
On a personal level, I have been prey to the idea disease — wherein in the middle of the night I get an idea that I feel is disruptive, world-changing & amazing — all in one. I can’t wait to share it with people as soon as possible.
Once I do, I am provided instant gratification of the idea being appreciated. But there’s a problem here: not me or the ones who I have shared the idea have the slightest idea of how we’ll go about it.
And therein lies the key to failure. We fool appreciation with motivation to do the work. In reality, that appreciation becomes a trap and hinders us in evaluating the real worth of the idea.
Appreciation is nice & necessary but it should never be the end goal if you want to do something that matters.
When you have an idea, you need to show people the path. You are the leader now. No matter what seniority sits in front of you, this is your moment of glory. No matter what fear of failure blinds you, you need to be prepared like a beast. And that preparation will only be 1% if what you have is just an “idea”.
People don’t win a game with an idea of winning it — they sure have ingenious ideas of how they will defeat the other side but that’s not it. They have a strategy in place, they prepare to win and they win because they went at it with all their might. You don’t win a game by an idea, you win a game by playing the game.
So let’s have an execution manifesto.
All good ideas to those who wait..but greatness to the ones who hustle.