What most people learn from their mistakes is not to do it again.

A client of mine would ask an interview question.

“Everyone makes mistakes. I make mistakes. You make mistakes. Tell me about a professional mistake you made and what you learned from it.”

What most people learn from their mistakes is not to do it again.

They learn to become inert for fear of making a mistake.


Because from the time that they were small in the school system until now, as adults, in the workforce, mistakes or something that you’re punished for.

Thus, we learn not to stretch the envelope for fear of retribution or worse.

Yet what’s most important is not to stay stuck in place.

It is like what we tell young children to do— get back up on the horse and go for a ride.

“You are soooo close. I know you can do it this time. I watch you and this time I’m sure you’ll be able to do it.”

There are lots of things that we do as adults for our children to help them overcome their fear at that moment.

As adults, we don’t do it anymore.

We don’t ask for someone to watch us.

We don’t ask for advice.

We don’t test our ideas with others.

We live in professional fear of the next mistake.

Is that really how you want to live your life?

Because what you do at work, you do elsewhere, too.

Asking for support is one of the smartest things that you can do.

It is thinking that you can do it by yourself that is foolish.

I know you’re not foolish.

You’ve just been trained in the wrong way.


Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020 



Jeff Altman,The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman,The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Career Angles | Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterForbes Coaches Council.

If you have a quick question for me, you can get it answered with a 3-5 minute video. Want to do it live?

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Please click here to see my schedule to book a free discovery call or schedule time for coaching.

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: