Experience Is Simply The Name We Give Our Mistakes (and we all make mistakes)

….. this #WednesdayWisdom quote is from Oscar Wilde, famous 19th Centurt playwright. We all have ‘experiences’ in both our personal and professional lives and what we do with, how we catalog them and learn from them, is largely what differentiates us. It’s not the mistakes that defines us, it’s the resulting course correction. On this very early Wednesday morning, I reflect back to a blog post mash up with Deepak Chopra outlining four of our biggest career mistakes ……

Four Biggest Career Mistakes and How To Avoid Them:

For those I have coached or mentored, this will be a broken record or an important reminder worth a review. Couple years ago I found a terrific blog from Deepak Chopra in which he outlines what he believes to be the three biggest career mistakes one can make. I frequently coach young talent on two of these three and have added a fourth, and the fourth is what I believe to be the biggest mistake of all. I’d like to spend a couple minutes and put my spin on the Chopra / MMc four mistakes not to make in 2016.

1. Setting your expectations too low.

Over and over again mentees and others will hear me say that “your faith equals your capacity”. Clearly this is common sense and nearly always overlooked. Think about every major step in your career, or life for that matter. I’ll bet before you embarked on a successful task, project, or initiative, you had a belief it could be done and that you had faith that you would be successful. Conversely, how often do you even approach a project you have little faith in, unless directed by your company, manager, or parent? Its clear that the frame you create can be directly a output of your faith and belief (not necessarily certainty) in your ability to be successful. Think of this as the old 1863 proverb “mind over matter”.

2. Feeling that you have to be certain.

geo-hoodIf you are unable to make yourself vulnerable in a healthy way it will be very difficult to stretch the boundaries of your own belief system. You’ll become a victim of your own experiences and guaranteed outcomes. Being uncertain and open to new experiences and concepts will expand your frame and the size of your uncertain frame is definitely larger than a frame drawn by certainty. I’ve written on frames and my personal example of how George Hood blew up my frame, my faith, and ultimately resulted in higher performance. See: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-you-need-new-frame-mike-mcnamara

3. Not seeing how much you will grow.

In essence, Deepak Chopra’s writing on this subject is all about potential and seeing the potential. If we only hired people that had no additional runway, how would we grow? This is directly from Chopra’s blog: “Most job interviews follow the same pattern, where the applicant tries to prove, even before setting foot in the door, that he knows how to handle the job. This ritual is empty, a piece of drama that’s supposed to show confidence. In reality, great careers are built on growth. Seeing your own potential to grow isn’t easy, especially when you are young. But it’s a mistake not to see that you will grow, meaning that your future self, although out of reach, has an enormous amount to offer. What you can do today, what you know and how far you can see–this is all provisional, awaiting the mysterious process of growth”

4. Little investment in your Network.

Finally, I have preached on the importance of building your network for two very important reasons:

  • Knowledge Base. The larger your cross-functional network, the larger your accessibility and and exposure to learning and growth. Cross functionality is critical to broad growth unless you desire to be a SME the balance of your career. There is a reason why the terms CEO, President, and General Manager can be synonymous. The general knowledge base pushes the boundaries of your frame.
  • Opportunity. Your next career opportunity is 99% likely to come as result of someone in your personal or professional network. Remember to build BOTH your personal and professional networks. IMPORTANT – It’s here that the size of your opportunity is a result of “The Network Effort”. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect

So it’s important that I recognize that the focus of this article came from a short blog entry from the brilliant Deepak Chopra and I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to the original here:

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see this blog and over 50 more articles on career management and talent development at from Mike McNamara at: Mike McNamara / TalentBlvd

About Mike McNamara:

Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.

Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services. Today he coaches a number of high profile media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.

Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.


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