How do you feel when you make a mistake? Do you try to cover it up and act as though nothing happened or do you own it, laugh it off, and move forward? So many people see making a mistake as a weakness but I’m here to show you why it is actually a strength, and why you should be embracing it.
It is simply impossible to go through life without making a mistake – it’s called being human – and embracing your humanness helps others feel more comfortable. It makes you more approachable and generates endless opportunities for success. Admitting you messed up and sharing what you learned from it is something you should do proudly, not with shame.
Join me on the podcast this week as I show you how to view your mistakes as strengths and how to use them to get a job you love. I explain why covering up mistakes leads to missed opportunities and why talking about your mistakes in interviews shows desirable qualities that employers are searching for in their ideal candidates.
Welcome to How to Get a 6-Figure Job You Love podcast. This is episode 17: The Interview Superpower That Everyone Has But They Don’t Even Know It (Yes, Including You!).
Hey there, welcome to the Get a 6-Figure Job You Love podcast. I’m your host Natalie Fisher. I’m a certified career mindset coach who also happens to want to skip all the BS and get to what it really takes to create real results for you in your career. On this podcast you will create real mindset shifts that will lead to big results and big changes in your career and your income. No fluff here. If you want to get a 6-figure job you love and create real concrete results in your industry and make a real impact you’re in the right place. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, hello. Today I’m going to talk about something that we often think is a weakness and we try to cover it up. But recently I’ve been having people tell me that what attracted them to my work is this exact thing. So I’m going to show you how it’s not a weakness and how it’s actually a strength, and come to think of it, what makes me really good at what I do, what makes things fun for me, what makes me love job interviews and interacting in general.
And I bet you’re dying to know what the superpower is. Well, it’s going to blow your mind. It’s simply being human and embracing your humanness. And I’m going to give you some examples of how to do this in a way that makes you very likeable, very relatable, and very popular among hiring managers, coworkers and generally able to have some more fun and acceptance and self-compassion in your life.
So I’m going to start with what kind of sparked me thinking about this podcast topic besides a few people saying to me, “What attracted me to your stuff was that you’re very conversational and very human. And you talk about your mistakes very openly.” And that was something that people liked about me. And so it made me think, yeah, I actually really – I’m doing that unconsciously now because I’ve been doing it for a while. So it got me thinking about some examples of why and how it works really well for me.
And so I started observing other people in my life too and how they do it really well and how I actually like them more for it too. So if you’ve been listening or following my emails for a while you might know that I really enjoy doing group fitness classes. And something that I do a lot of is spin class and then I do some yoga classes. And throughout the years that’s been the way that I have liked to stay active is by doing group fitness.
And so through those experiences over the years I’ve had a lot of instructors. And I’ve had the experience of going through a lot of different styles of instructor and how they like to run their classes. And so some are better than others obviously, and it got me thinking why. So obviously some, I like that they’re very challenging or some of the moves they do or whatever, that. But their personality has a big factor.
And I can always tell with the spin classes, some instructors classes are going to fill up really fast and you have to sign up right away because there’s going to be a wait list for their classes. And it’s because they’re very human, and very fun, and they are very open with their personality, and their lives. And they’re just very a lot more interactive. And then some of them they might give you a really good workout but they’re just really boring. And I think it’s because they’re shy or they don’t want to talk that much. And that’s totally fine, their classes are still great, still a great workout.
But what I noticed was the big main difference is that some of them are very open to making mistakes. And of course in these classes there’s obviously going to be some mistakes that are made. You can’t be perfect on beat all the time every time.
So the biggest one that I thought of was this yoga class that I went to and sometimes you’ll go to a class and they will make a mistake. And you’ll be able to tell that they made a mistake but they’ll just brush past it, try to cover it up, try to distract you, get back on, everything’s fine. Everyone heard it and saw it, we all know that there was a mistake made or there was something slightly off. But the instructor didn’t want to admit it or bring attention to it, they just ignored it and quickly covered it up and pretended it never happened and moved on.
And the class moves on and there’s no problem, that’s fine, but I noticed that. And I think it’s missing an opportunity because some of the most fun instructors actually bring attention to their mistakes and kind of laugh them off and everybody joins in and it’s just more fun. And so the people who don’t want to bring attention to their mistakes, I think it’s they’re avoiding their humanness.
So have you ever been – I can think of some people in particular where they might say something in a meeting or something. And someone questions what they said, not even in a bad way, they’re just like, “Oh, are you sure that’s true because?” And then they’ll present evidence of something else.
And instead of being open to it and open into the questioning, they try to backpedal and cover it up or they get defensive. And instead of saying, “You’re right. That’s interesting. I never thought of that, thanks for pointing it out.” They say something like, “That’s not what I meant. What I really meant was this.” And they’re very serious and they don’t want to be questioned. They’re afraid of looking bad, they’re afraid of looking stupid, they’re afraid that they didn’t know something or that they did something wrong.
And I don’t know about you but I can see right through that when they do that. And I’m thinking in my head, I’m like, dude, it’s not a big deal. But what often happens is when we try to cover it up then people can tell you’re trying to backpedal and damage control and cover it up. People have the need to want to challenge you on it even more, or at least they know. They’re like, “Yeah, why won’t you just say? That’s fine, you made a mistake or you didn’t see it, or I made a good point,” or whatever. They try to cover it up.
And then it can escalate further and it builds tension between that person and the rest of the group, or the one person that questioned it or whatever. And they keep having – if it does get escalated, they end up having to dig themselves into a hole to protect themselves further from being wrong, looking stupid, not knowing the answer or doing something sub optimally. And I’m like, “What is the big deal? So you made a mistake, so you missed something, whatever.”
The best way to address it and it’s an opportunity to address it. It’s like, “Yeah, great, I didn’t see that, thanks for pointing that out, I’ll look into that.” Or, “Oh, I didn’t realize that. I’ll have to check that out or maybe you can show me what you mean by that.” Or question it. Get curious, maybe they’re right. Or, “I didn’t think of that, that’s a really good point.”
But sometimes we don’t want to go there because we’re afraid of risking looking stupid, or so we think. So I see it as an opportunity and a genuine opportunity to show your humanness. So for example, in some other classes that I’ve been to, some of the most fun ones have been where they make mistakes. So the one I can think of was this yoga class where she was giving us instructions.
And in yoga they are very vocal. They describe the moves to you because you can’t always see them. And so she said, “So now I would like you to put your middle thumb on your right knee.” And of course your brain registers, middle thumb, that’s confusing. And so instead of brushing it off and just ignoring it she said – she laughed it off and she’s like, “Ha ha.” She’s like, “Did you hear that, you guys, middle thumb? That was smart, wasn’t it?” And we all laughed and I remember I could not stop laughing, it was so funny.
So I feel like it’s little things like that, and it’s not a big deal, it really isn’t. It actually made me like her class even more because I had the association of fun. I was laughing about it. I was like this is so funny, she’s a human. And it made me more comfortable with her. As where some of the other instructors in spin class for example, they’ll miss a beat or something and then they won’t say anything about it, they’ll just keep going.
And the ones that, you know, they accept their humanness a bit more. They’ll be like, “Yeah.” They’ll be like, “I might miss this one. I always miss this one. It’s a tough one. Let’s try to get it.” And they’re just really embracing the fact that they make a mistake. And then sometimes they’ll just be like, “Oh, my bad,” or, “Just kidding.” Or you can kind of see how their personalities are just a little bit more light-hearted, a little bit more accepting. And it makes the environment just so much nicer to be in.
So the same is true of an interview, of a team meeting, and it’s completely within your control to create that environment by how you talk to yourself and what you accept of yourself. To then be like, yeah, it’s cool, we are human and we do make mistakes. Now, I’m not saying you don’t want to do work to your highest standard. Of course that’s what we’re always aiming to do. But at the same time being a human is not something that can be avoided.
So trying to do everything perfectly and never miss anything is just not going to happen ever. So if we can accept that and see that then we can really use it as a strength, which is something that I think I have become really good at doing, which is why I do it very automatically and openly and I don’t even realize that I’m doing it. But I can spot when other people don’t. And I’m like, “What’s the big deal? So you made a mistake, whatever.” It’s when people start clenching and being like, “No, I didn’t,” then people want to dig deeper and be like, “Yeah, you did.” And they want you to admit it.
But it’s like well, if you just admit it, nobody’s going to really make that big a deal about it. And be like, “Okay, well, then let’s fix it, or what shall we do?” So you can create that environment and that’s the environment that I have had at so many of my workplaces.
I don’t even remember the last time I worked in a place that was different to that because I’m so chill about it that it’s not possible for somebody to challenge me in that way because I’m like, “Yeah, I made a mistake, alright.” So they literally cannot change my attitude about it. And so it creates no tension because I’m not engaging or I’m not participating in a discussion that would create defensiveness, or tension, or any sort of avoidance of the issue.
So here’s how I see admitting that you missed something or that you messed up. I see it as a genuine opportunity to show being a genuine human. I think people like stand up humans more than people who are trying to be perfect. I see it as an opportunity to give someone else credit for pointing something out that was maybe in my blind spot. It helps me build a relationship with that person. They get to feel valued for contributing a good point.
It’s really actually not a big deal when you’re transparent and you move forward. First of all you can be proud of the fact that you’re open enough to be transparent about your mistakes. And you’ll realize that nobody really cares that much because they make mistakes too.
And when we are pointing out each other’s blind spots we’re all creating a better work environment. So that leaves it open for me to say, “Did you think of this?” Or, “Why didn’t you do it this way?” And it’s not meaning that – even maybe they didn’t do anything wrong, it just opens for the collaboration, and then there’s no fear around that. It’s when we try to hide it and backpedal that people start to care more. I see it happen so many times. And it’s just like you release the reins and there’s no tension.
So how this comes into play in interviews is people love working with people who are open to being human and open to all of it, admitting that you messed something up, or you made a mistake and what you learned from it. And talking about it freely is something that you can do proudly because it happens, it’s a part of being alive, it’s part of the deal. And you get to be proud of how you handled your mistakes.
I like to tell stories about how I messed up and soon I realized that I like to tell stories about how I messed up because I get to tell them how I handled it, and what I learned from it, and how I became a better employee from the experience. So I get to talk about how I was transparent, how I communicated and how I moved into solution mode. Why? Because it’s going to happen, humans are going to mess up, it’s inevitable.
So we can try to hide it, backpedal, try to put our armor on that makes us look like we did not mess up and that we never mess up, or we can embrace it. And we can build a stronger relationship in the interview room, in a team meeting, as an instructor in a group fitness class, doing a presentation. You can have a better work environment and create better work when you’re just loving your own humanness and have the ability to see it and improve upon it.
Being alive on the planet as a human is a gift. And I like to use it as such, not use it against myself, but use it as a gift because we all are. So when we admit to making a mistake it makes others feel comfortable to also admit that they make mistakes. Or even just them thinking in their head, yeah, I’ve been there, I know what that’s like, or that must have been hard. It makes others more comfortable around you and it helps others see the example that you’re setting.
So maybe you are somebody who is completely comfortable talking about their mistakes, and that’s great. But if you’re not, if you’re someone who’s paranoid about someone seeing that you’ve missed something, or someone’s seen that you made a mistake and judging you and telling you that you’re wrong.
All these things that you’re afraid of are going to show up somewhere along the way. Either you’re going to bottle them up and put so much pressure on yourself to try to be perfect and never make a mistake. And a lot of us are doing that in some form or another. Or you could just release it and be like, “Yeah, I made a mistake, let’s talk about it.” It’s not a big deal actually. And so the question you need to ask yourself is are you going to allow for human error in your life? There is only one answer to that question and I think you know what it is.
So if you want to become the master of communicating and framing your past human errors in a way that launch you forward, instead of making you ashamed, I can help you with that. So I want you to be able to feel proud of talking about your mistakes. I want you to be able to feel proud of how you’re handling things. I want you to not be afraid of going into a situation where you made a mistake. I want you to be curious where you can find the learning and how you can make it the best situation in the end.
And you’ll be able to navigate any, or just to be defensive towards other people because you’re simply not going to have that super high requirement of yourself anymore. And why does this work so well? It’s because everyone is human, everyone has made mistakes and will make mistakes. Not everyone knows how to use those mistakes as strengths. And when you see that doing this is making you feel at ease you get to have subconscious shifts about how you think about yourself and how other people think about you.
And so even if somebody appears like they’ve never made a mistake. They have, it’s just not possible to go through this life without ever making a mistake. I bet you can’t tell me someone who hasn’t. So in interviews this comes in as an opportunity when you get to talk about your mistakes stories. So they might ask you a time when you failed, a time when you didn’t meet a goal, a time when you made a mistake. And they want to know. They want to know the answer to this because they want to hear about how you handled it.
So you can be proud about how you handled your mistake and what you learned from your mistake. And these can be the very best stories to tell. They can connect you the most.
And so I had a really good boss that I was blessed with, and actually several bosses, but – so I would make a mistake and I think this is why – part of the reason why I became so comfortable with it. So for example I made a mistake and I purchased a monitor that was too expensive, it was over the budget for one of the new hires. And he just sent me a Slack message, which is the company messenger and he’s just like, “Natalie, what is this purchase for the monitor that is $800? That’s over budget for the monitors.”
And so I immediately got up, I went over to his desk and I said, “Yes, that was a mistake, it was over budget, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have purchased it. Would you like me to exchange it for the one that’s within budget?” And he just said, “Okay, just checking, thanks for letting me know.” And that was it, he didn’t discipline me. He didn’t tell me to do it better next time. He didn’t need it to be changed. He just knew that I knew I’d made a mistake. I owned it, he was just checking. And it was just kind of known that I understand, I won’t do it again. And I never did.
So I’d never had anybody react to a mistake like that before. I thought I was going to potentially get a talking to, not a serious one, I thought, okay, maybe I’ll get a slap on the wrist or maybe I’ll have to exchange it, do some extra work, no big deal, I’ll fix it. But he was just like, “Okay, I was just checking.” And that happened a lot. So whenever he would address or ask me about something, I would go to him, and I’d be like, “Okay, I see what happened. This is what happened. This was my bad. I didn’t know about this so this is why I did it,” or whatever the case.
And I just learned from every single one of those mistakes and he knew that I was learning from them. So we don’t all have bosses like that, sometimes they want to go over it with us for a long time. But the point is, is that I learned from those mistakes and I wasn’t embarrassed to go directly to him and talk to him about them.
And if I’m in an interview and I’m talking about mistakes, a hiring manager is going to be very interested in working with somebody who’s going to own their mistakes versus somebody who’s not, or somebody who says they haven’t made any or doesn’t have a story about any. Those are red flags if you don’t have any story about how you’ve ever made a mistake. It’s going to be a bit suspicious. They’re going to be like, “That’s weird. I mean you have to have failed or made a mistake some time.”
So it shows, when you can talk about your mistakes it shows you have compassion and patience for yourself, it shows you have self-awareness and can learn from your mistakes. It shows that you also have compassion and patience with other people, because when you treat yourself in a nicer way then you treat other people in a nicer way. And it shows that you are a human and ultimately they want to hire a human, not a robot.
So use these as opportunities in the interview to connect, to be relatable, to show how you handled something in a very good way, what result came of it, which was what you learned. And I promise you, this is a huge weight off your shoulders. So if you are somebody who’s been trying to be perfect, trying to – putting so much pressure on yourself to make everything right, and not let anybody see that you’re imperfect. You don’t have to do that anymore. It’s okay.
So one final little story that also contributed to this about my personality. My mom when I was growing up, she would never apologize to my dad. She was always afraid of being wrong even if she was clearly wrong. And I would see them arguing as a kid. And I would be like why won’t she just admit that she’s wrong? She’s obviously wrong, my dad’s proven it. And she wouldn’t, she just wouldn’t, even though I thought it was silly. And it made her look silly trying to fight for something that she was obviously wrong about.
And so I think I kind of took that in and said to myself, I’m never going to do that, if I’m wrong I’m just going to admit it. So that probably helped me too. However my dad would push her, he’d be like, “Why can’t you just admit that you’re wrong? Why can’t you ever say you’re sorry?” And I was like I don’t know why. So this was when I was younger.
And since then my mom and I have become close as I’m 36 now. And so our relationship is very different. And I asked her, I’m like, “So why did you never admit that you were wrong?” Because she can now, now she has no problem doing it. And she said, “Well, I grew up in Colombia.” So my mom was from Colombia, South America. And she said, “When you were wrong you got in trouble, you got hit with a belt.” She’s like, “In school if you got the answer wrong, you got hit. You got in trouble. So you never wanted to be wrong and you never wanted to say sorry because that was a bad thing.”
So I was like, “Oh, okay, that makes sense.” And now she’s in a different world where it’s okay and your mistakes are not a big deal. And so that really brought some awareness to me. And I think that a lot of us probably come from a place where you get in trouble if you’re wrong, or you get in trouble if you make a mistake. But the reality is, is that we are all human and we all do. So even the person hitting the kid with a belt, they’re not perfect either.
So there you have it my friends, and if I can leave you with that one question is are you going to allow for human error in your life? And once you can come to peace with that your life will completely change and it will be so much easier. So yes, let’s hold our work to a high standard, let’s do our very, very best, but let’s also allow for human error, because it’s going to be there anyway so we might as well embrace it and even have a little fun with it when the time is right.
Thank you so much for listening. I had a lot of fun recording this episode. And I will talk to you next week. Alright my friends, bye.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Get a 6-Figure Job You Love podcast. If you’re ready to dive deeper into your career mindset and start creating bigger, more impactful results in your career join me at www.nataliefisher.ca/getstarted. I’ll see you over there.