I went out with underwear in the hood of my sweater.
I had grabbed the sweater, fresh out of the laundry, thrown it on and ventured out the door. Fortunately, my fiancé saved the day, dispelling the situation before anyone saw me.
But then it occurred to me — what if nobody was around? What if I had worn that sweater when I went to the post office during the day? I could have walked through town with underwear hanging from my sweater. I stand out enough wearing my Yankees hat in this small Irish town, never mind flying an undergarment flag at full mast. That could make the local news!
I realized—when you're on your own, there's nobody to find underwear hanging from your clothes, nobody to find broccoli in your teeth—there's nobody to catch your mistakes.
I was reading Ilise's post, Can you detect a "fake" mistake from a real one? Sometimes, in the daily swing, we make mistakes. But there's a lot of pressure when it's just you.
It got me thinking back to my days in corporate land…
I worked for a ferry company. Things had gotten rough — people were being let go, and I'm pretty sure they started using the hose to fill up the water cooler. I was the only person left in the marketing department.
There was a new ferry terminal we were promoting. Someone sent me the info, and I put together a flyer.
I printed the flyer on the high-quantity copier, and flyered 600 of our customers' cars in 3 inch heels in the beating hot August sun with the help of just one other person (a security guard who I had bribed with a Snickers bar).
Sweating and exhausted, I returned back to the office and looked at the flyer again.
I decided I should make sure someone was answering the phone number at the new terminal — in case people called with questions.
And someone did answer—only her name was Bubbles and she told me that for $3.99 per minute we could have some erotic fun.
I'd been given the wrong 800 number, I hadn't checked, and now there were 600 customer cars covered with phone sex hotline flyers. (Fortunately, I was able to remove them before it was too late… still in my three inch heels, still in the hot August sun, and still with the security guard who this time was compelled to help because of my hysterics.)
I learned a few lessons.
- Always check the number.
- Put it down overnight — come back to it the next day.
- Even when you work alone, there is always another set of eyes for those times when something is really important. Make sure you find one.
- Do the hard stuff in the morning. My brain gets fuzzy as the day gets later.
We all mess up; it's impossible to be perfect. And it's inevitable we're all going to walk outside with laundry hanging from our clothes. (Ok, it's probably just me.) The goal is to do this as infrequently as possible — but how, when in our own business, we're the only ones on patrol? Any ideas? If not, feel free to share an embarrassing mistake story to make us smile.
Week 6 Recap: This week, I reviewed my website and updated my clients and testimonials pages. I've spent some extra time on Biznik and LinkedIn and made some new connections. (I'd love to make more, so please connect!) I've also identified 10 new prospects. (My prospects folder is getting really big and I'm beginning to realize the only way I'm going to really grow my business is my letting these people know I exist—yikes!)