Small Business Mistakes

Small Business Mistakes

“Imperfections are important, just as mistakes are. You only get to be good by learning from mistakes and you get to be real by being imperfect.” —Anonymous 



Learning from my Mistakes—The Seven Lessons of Wisdom of a Small Business Owner


The sad news is, for ten years I owned and operated a small business that ultimately failed.    The good news is, I learned priceless life-lessons from my mistakes.


Here are seven of my most valuable gifts of wisdom I gained from the experience

I learned to let go of my emotional attachments sooner. I learned to let go of my emotional attachments to:

  • People who didn’t fit in our company culture
  • Behaviors that I was tolerating
  • Systems that needed to be improved
  • Ideas and beliefs that were outmoded
  • Fear of being judged


I learned how to clear misunderstandings, upsets, or miscommunications sooner. There’s a price for not addressing these ASAP! I gained the courage to:

  • Speak my truth sooner
  • Honor my feelings sooner
  • Ask for what I wanted sooner
  • Risk embarrassment sooner


Since that business failure, I have developed the habit of building and maintaining a financial reserve account. Are you reading between the lines?  Yes, I did not have adequate reserves to ride out a major cash flow dip. I have also learned to nurture and balance my energy and better utilize my creative resources.


In the past I worked really long hours and I gave myself less than I deserved financially. I also held the same standard for my staff and faculty. I learned how critical it is to balance work and play for personal and organizational health.

  • I learned that leadership is not a popularity contest. As a leader, sometimes I needed to make hard decisions and not everyone was happy about them Some judged me harshly. I learned how to live with that.
  • Trust. I learned the difference between blind trust and authentic trust. Blind trust was when I was not being responsible as a leader for holding people accountable. The culture of my organization transformed when I designed accountability into the operations and communications systems.
  • Love. I learned to expand my capacity for receiving love. Not a word you’d expect in a business conversations, right? Being a business leader was a powerful vehicle for my personal growth. I learned how to be more humble and vulnerable – to embrace the day to day opportunities to grow as a human being. My stretch was learning how to receive the caring around me, and when I did, I gained in my self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as greater trust and respect for others.


Inquiry:  What gifts of wisdom am I learning?   How do I learn to appreciate my opportunities for learning?

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