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I fell on my face again. I made a big mistake.

Here’s my mistake. Right here.

WILD_Logo.Horz.RGB-top

My new logo, the new branding, didn’t fit the fun, the enthusiasm, that I am known for, that I want to continue to be known for.

Well, the people have spoken, and I’ve listened!

I’m scrapping it.

Yep. Thousands of dollars down the tubes. Not to mention hours changing all of the logos everywhere.

Going back to this logo  now.

wild-woman-fundraising-logo

I worked with a lovely branding company. They had helped a local soap business rebrand and she was getting tons more sales because of it. I figured they could help me too.

Logical, right? So they made me a logo. It was pretty. But it wasn’t WILD. It wasn’t ME. My readers let me know right away that the logo wasn’t working for them.

Why am I telling you this?

Because this is such a big mistake, it’s worth cherishing.

What? Huh?

Cherish the mistake?

SERIOUSLY?

When we fall on our faces it wakes us up.

After I realized that I had made this mistake, it was like I had been hit between the eyes with a two-by-four.

I walked and biked around in a daze for the rest of the day and night.

I screwed up, big time!

OH NO! Here we go again!

“You’re on thin ice, missy!”

At a couple of my old nonprofit jobs, I made a couple of relatively minor mistakes and my bosses let me know how NOT OKAY that was. I was not encouraged to take risks, or make more mistakes. They let me know I was on thin ice and I had better watch myself.

Did these mistakes cost the nonprofit thousands of dollars? Nope. Not even $500.
But it was a big deal to them.

By the way, these two bosses made lots of mistakes they did not own up to, and ended up costing their nonprofits quite a bit of money and credibility with the community.

Since leaving the full-time nonprofit world, I’ve had to get out of this mindset of beating myself up when I make mistakes.

Why? Shouldn’t beating yourself up when you make a mistake help you not make it again?

Nope.

Here’s the story of two brothers

One of them had an average amount of looks and an average amount of intelligence. But he had grown up in the other one’s shadow. He called himself stupid. The other one shone with a golden light. Everyone was drawn to him. He was popular, intelligent and kind to everyone.

What happened after they left the nest and got out in the world?

The average brother went out, got jobs, quit jobs, got new jobs, went on dates, and got rejected, and went out and kept right on going out on more dates with other people. He was reasonably happy with his lot. He knew what it was like to lose, and he just picked himself up and kept going.

The golden brother got out on his own, but didn’t date, had a hard time with his job, and couldn’t handle it. He hadn’t had all of that experience with rejection early in life, so he got it later in life. And he was ill-equipped. He fell into a depression because he hadn’t learned how to lose.

ParmenidesParmenides says, “We learn through strife.” Because we have to learn how to lose. It’s much more important than learning how to win.

We are going to lose many more times in our lives than we are going to win. And we get to choose how we take losing. We can take it hard and make losing or making a mistake be all about us and how worthless we are, and it isn’t about that. It’s an experience that teaches us about ourselves.

Do we take poverty as a measure of our worth? Or does it inspire us to work harder to get rich?

Do we take a losing money as a measure of our intelligence? Or do we take mistakes losing money as proof that we need to learn more to be successful?

I wanted to make my mistake public and tell you about it, because we have got to make making mistakes okay at our nonprofits.

And it starts at the top. Can your leader say, “I made a mistake, I’m sorry”? Have you EVER heard a nonprofit leader say that? Frankly I haven’t, but I would love to hear a nonprofit leader say that. If they can open themselves up to being that vulnerable in front of staff, they make it okay for other people to own their mistakes, right there too.

Owning your mistakes is part of what makes you a good leader. I’m not saying just owning them is enough. You have to take steps to fix them, of course. But making mistakes and owning them is going to move our nonprofits forward much more than sweeping them under the rug and pretending everything is perfect.

Just ask a funder. Would they like you to lie to them or tell them the truth when your program didn’t work?

Mistakes are all part of learning. And having a business or running a nonprofit is one long series of mistakes and learning experiences.

This simple acceptance can make our nonprofit workplaces so much better.

So here’s my cringe-worthy moment- I’m sorry! Can you forgive me for trying to be something I’m not?

When people make mistakes at your nonprofit, can you forgive them, and realize it’s all part of the learning process?