Last night I was very tired. Not just physically tired, but mentally exhausted, emotionally weary.
But I couldn’t sleep. For an hour, I tossed and turned, tortured by a haunting question:
Today, I’d like to tell you a story.
It takes you behind the scenes of a heart operation, reveals a secret and teaches a powerful lesson in the end.
I deeply understand ARROGANCE.
Being a doctor, especially a heart surgeon, helps. 🙂
Most (if not all) doctors, and certainly all heart surgeons, believe they are fantastic, extra-ordinary, exceptional people. The confidence (that always borders on, and often crosses the line into, arrogance) is a necessary part of being in the specialty.
Think about it for a moment. If a surgeon were to begin an operation without a certain level of confidence, s/he might simply get paralyzed by the enormity of the challenge, the potential risks of a complication, the dangers of the procedure involved.
The solution: Develop a deep inner confidence that shrugs off such doubts and allows skillful performance of a complex operation.
In my work on the Web, I play in some niche markets that are equally hyper-competitive, like the entrepreneurial home business, infopreneur and Internet marketing niches.
Players in these niches have internalized the useful life message I first heard from best-selling author Dave Pelzer – “Never let them see you bleed!”
So my peers (or ‘competitors’) pretend and preen, living the mantra of ‘fake it till you make it’, until they either reach a level when it becomes real – or they quit.
And to an extent that’s fine – but there’s a stranger thing that happens along the way…
They Stop Making Mistakes!
Or, to be more precise, they stop ADMITTING to the mistakes they make.
Because it won’t fit their image of near-perfect immaculate creations, especially to their 1000 true fans. And that’s scary, even dangerous in certain situations (like a ‘over-confident’ surgeon indulging in a procedure s/he is not competent to carry out, even if confident enough to try).
And after getting in over their heads into deep water, these masters of self-deception and posturing still gamely struggle on. Again, that’s fine – giving up on anything when the going gets tough is not a great solution, but what’s sad is they miss a valuable LEARNING experience.
By pretending to be perfect, flawless, incapable of making a mistake, they are really shooting themselves in the foot.
You see, there really is no benefit in making the claim:
“I NEVER make mistakes”
At best, it brands you a fool in the minds and eyes of people watching and listening to you. At worst, it makes you loathed and disliked by more ‘real’ people who like relating to other ‘real’ people instead of mindless caricatures and ego-images.
Everyone makes mistakes. No doubt about it. What matters is how one deals with them – how quickly, how effectively, how smartly. That defines you, your level of growth and wisdom, your maturity and suitability for huge success.
Everyone bleeds. Don’t question that, we all hurt and suffer from time to time. Do THAT in private, you don’t need to show the world how hard you worked, struggled or fought to get where you did. That’s what Dave meant by “Don’t let them see you BLEED!”
Your competition scans your business for weakness like a bloodhound scents blood. Don’t let them find your chinks and soft spots. But at the same time, don’t posture and pretend to be what you aren’t… infallible.
That’s just downright stupid.
Made a mistake? Admit it. Apologize. Or at least, take quick remedial action.
The way Steve Jobs handled his (potentially) catastrophic iPhone price cut is a case in point. After slashing the price on Apple’s blockbuster mega-hit product by $200 just months after release, he risked antagonizing a core fan base.
A mistake. Maybe a calculated one, but still a mistake.
Steve didn’t posture and spin things in a flim-flam, smoke-and-mirrors fashion. He just got right to the point and gave all buyers a $100 credit – at an Apple store.
Masterful damage control. A brilliant way to handle a mistake. And he didn’t even apologize!
On the flip side, there are obvious, glaring mistakes made by hundreds of entrepreneurs every day. Some are so apparent, even novices can see them. Yet you see people who should know better claiming they did not goof up.
“I NEVER Make Mistakes”
Wake up, folks. Even your mother won’t believe THAT one!