Promoting Professional Geekery #1: Share Your Mistakes

Welcome to my new series – a series on Promoting Professional Geekery.

We, as profans, progeeks, and protaku take pride in our dreams – and achievements – to turn our interests into careers.  We build ourselves into our own ideals, we realize dreams others aspire to, we turn the daily grind into something far more.

It's time we promote that.

We should be proud of what we've done.  We should share it to make a more imaginative, creative, technical, and geeky world.  We should inspire and help others, and we should promote the dream – the dream that what you love can be what you do for a living.

That's what this series is about.

Let's promote professional geekery.

And my first lesson?  Share your mistakes.

Chances are, on your professional journey, you've made some real serious mistakes.  Maybe they were budgetary or marketing, maybe they were understandable or a complete testimony to your boneheadedness.  Either way they're yours, and rather than letting them fester or hiding them, drag them into the light and make something of them.

Share them with current and future progeeks so they learn from you.

Sharing mistakes has a lot of advantages:

  1. Gives others the chance to learn from your mistakes – and thus they either avoid the suffering you had, or go on to make new, innovative mistakes others can learn from.
  2. It lets other people know they're not alone when they screw up.  They see that you, someone successful and brilliant (and doubtlessly good looking) can mess up to.
  3. It lets you learn from others.  Imagine the feedback you get from those you discuss your mistakes with that can help you.
  4. Sharing mistakes helps you get over yourself.  It may be painful, but it helps you stop worrying about your mistakes – and helps you transform them.
  5. It helps you build empathy – because when you share your mistakes, you'll quickly find out everyone else messes up as well.
  6. You probably have a large backlog of mistakes, and thus a lot to work with.
  7. It gives others hope they can survive their own mistakes – very important as people often give up on their dreams due to mistakes.

So if you're going to promote Professional Geekery, then by all means, share your greatest foul-ups.  You'll make things easier on everyone – plus it's a good contrarian approach that gets people's attention.

You know, like making it the first column in a series . . .

Steven Savage