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My Top 3 Business Mistakes and What They Taught Me

If wisdom comes from experience, and experience comes from making mistakes, then dudes and dudettes, I’m a sage. 

Last week, Niamh and I were laughing (hard) at the description of how our individual Enneagrams worked as a pair. It was dead-on. When describing my part of the partnership, the blurb read, Sevens bring a sense of fun and adventure, resilience, and not being overly concerned with failure. 

No, I have never been overly concerned with failure. But I have always been determined to learn everything I can from my missteps. For now, these three lessons stand tallest in my mind. 

Mistaking Movement for Progress

I once juggled my varying talents like a magician unsure of his next trick, aiming for genius but often landing on jester. I never suffered imposter syndrome; I embraced my mask as a right of passage, knowing that the act of starting would have me shedding the facade fast.  

Had I embraced my greatest strengths with the fervor expelled on my sillier swings (alas StoryShop, ahead of your time and with me out of my depth), acknowledging the boundary between natural prowess and serious grind, the studio’s road to where we are now would have had fewer unnecessary detours.

Not Making Sure I Had the Right People on the Bus 

I was so eager to drive forward in the early days, I didn’t always stop to ensure everyone on board was headed in the same direction, or desired the same destination. That negligence infected our growth. 

We got it wrong from the top down. Johnny B Truant is a remarkable creative partner, so we both assumed he was right for COO. But once the studio had a copilot who is aligned with the company’s direction and goals, it was clear that Johnny needed to be telling stories instead of helping to steer the ship. 

We learned to filter when bringing new writers into the studio. A steep interview process followed by an onboarding period took us from high churn to a near-zero turnover of our storytellers.  

Underestimating the Power of Surrender

The Surrender Experiment had the right message at a time when I was open to receive it. The book had been recommended to me on multiple occasions before I finally read the narrative about magic happening when we stop trying to control every aspect of our existence so the currents of life can guide us instead. And then we gallop away on unicorns. 

I know. It was super woo for me, too. But it also resonated with a gnawing sense I’d been wrestling with. Cindy is a Surrender Experiment type of gal, so she was constantly nudging me toward tuning more into my intuition while remaining anchored by my core values. And with an aligned COO, surrendering was possible in my professional life because we agreed on our company’s North Star. 

Missteps are only setbacks if you allow it. Otherwise they’re signposts on the way to somewhere better than you would have gone without them.