Five Great Things about Screwing Up

by Colette Carlson

colette-carlson-5-great-things-about-screwing-upWhat was your latest, greatest mistake? Was it when you attached the wrong client proposal, or maybe your idea for that leads campaign that went over budget and ended in record-low quarterly sales…? Or maybe you can’t even talk about it because it’s too embarrassing!

Understandable, but think about this for a moment: isn’t the shame you feel over your error, whatever it was, worse than simply admitting you were wrong and moving on? Shame causes us to try and hide our slip-ups, but keeping them locked in our heads actually feeds their power. The resulting anxiety drags us down by forcing us to cover up or overcompensate. Fear increases because, as most of us know, a cover up nearly always comes back to bite us…and usually at the most inopportune time possible.In truth, every mistake – big, small, or in-between – is actually a precious gift (even if its wrapping is revolting). Changing your attitude toward failure can help you face it and grow stronger as a result.

  • Making mistakes is a sign that we’re taking risks. People who don’t take risks trade learning and progress for safety. Feel good about trying and failing rather than doing nothing. In fact, sit down and create your own personal resume of flops. Be as detailed and thorough as possible. Now, think about what each item on your tally of turkeys taught you, or how something positive came from it. You may find that some of those on-the-job mishaps actually furthered your career.

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Cal Ripken: Building A Legacy One Baseball Diamond At A Time

by Don Yaeger

Cal Ripken

Former Major League Baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The 2015 MLB Playoffs are a battle of legacies, and one of the biggest match-ups so far involved the Chicago Cubs—a club seeking to escape a history of post-season disappointment—and the historically successful St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs won the series against its heated rival and are on to the National League Championship Series.

But away from the bright lights and TV cameras, Cal Ripken, Jr., former Baltimore Oriole and Hall-Of-Famer, is building an even greater legacy by creating a future for children, one baseball diamond at a time. And during this amazing time in the baseball season, Ripken reached an incredible milestone, cutting the ribbon on his 50th baseball diamond.

Ripken’s career has a theme of longevity. Not only does he hold the MLB record for most consecutive games started, but he’s always thinking and acting strategically with his projects—he set a goal four-plus years ago to build 50 fields in five years. The goal was set when Ripken saw a pressing need in places he hadn’t previously noticed.

“For many years after my retirement we’ve enjoyed teaching the game of baseball to young people, but we discovered that in some cities there were no safe places for these programs to exist,” said Ripken. “I realized that if we built these beautiful, synthetic fields in places that needed them, then our efforts were going to be an important contribution to the local children and communities.”

Motivated by the opportunity to make a difference, Ripken and his team spared no expense in providing big-league amenities for “the world’s finest youth baseball complexes”—all complete with synthetic turf, batting cages, lighted fields and training areas.

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Maverick Leadership: Leading Undisciplined Great Service

by Chip Bell

She was over-the-top friendly. Her eye hugs made you feel you were in the presence of a forever friend. As she rang up my purchase at the checkout counter of the super-sized, well-known department store, she commented on my cowboy boots. “You’re either from Texas or you got a heap of cowboy in your blood,” she teased as she put my purchases in a shopping bag. Then she added, “I put a discount coupon in your bag for apple cider. You know you are gonna need extra cider this winter; they say it’ll be a cold one!”

As I thanked her for her delightful service she shattered the stellar moment with a quiet pronouncement. “I am sorry I won’t see you when you come back; today is my last day.” I had to know the reason so I coaxed her for an explanation. “To be honest,” she said with obvious disappointment, “I was terminated. My boss said I was too undisciplined.”

I left the store with her closing comment refusing to vacate my brain. It made me wonder: Was this “made in heaven” checkout clerk perpetually late? Did she mouth off to her supervisor? Did she have poor work habits her colleagues complained about? What exactly did “undisciplined” mean? After a nearby meeting, curiosity won out over “let well enough alone” and I went back to the store, found her still on the checkout counter, and asked my burning question.

Her answer: “He said I was not following the script and that I was doing things for customers that made other checkout clerks look bad.”

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Q & A with Geoff Colvin on Humans Are Underrated

with Geoff Colvin

Q: Many argue that robots will soon take all our jobs and make humans irrelevant. Yet you don’t hold this viewpoint – why not?

A: Because for sound economic reasons, we won’t want technology to do that. We are hardwired from our evolutionary past to value human relationships, and as a practical matter we must use those relationships to solve the most important human problems. Make no mistake – technology is profoundly reordering the value of human skills, and many people will continue to lose their jobs to technology. But the economy will reward people with different skills, primarily skills of human interaction.

Q: In fact, in the book, you write: “Viewed on the scale of the entire economy, technology’s advance indeed has not cost jobs, despite widespread fears. Quite the opposite.” Can you talk more about this?A: Technology has improved the material well-being of humanity more than any other force in history, by a mile. It has lifted billions of people out of poverty and has raised living standards spectacularly. Nothing else comes remotely close. Yet people have continually feared the effects of technology. Since those fears have always proved unwarranted, it’s tempting to dismiss today’s fears as just more of the same. But they aren’t.

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