How long does it take you to recognize when you've made a mistake?
It varies. That time as a child when I put my little hand on a hot stove, I knew immediately that was a mistake. But that time that I lost weeks of work and sleep over a broken relationship, that took awhile to figure out.
It's even possible to rationalize a mistake. It's as if a thief says "I deserve this because I've had a hard life" or a counselor says to themselves "of course it's fine for me to love that client in that possibly inappropriate way because they do love me don't they?" That's dangerous territory for a leader. We might even need other people to let us know when we get close to the margins so we can pull back to safety. We might need hedges around our walls around our moats to keep us safe.
And unless we recognize a mistake, we won't learn from it.
It's hard to correct mistakes, and harder still if we keep defending them.
-- doug smith
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