Many years ago opportunity knocked at my door; I went to work for a real estate franchise company which I will refer to as “Company X.” At that time though, I was young, impressionable, and naïve to the Corporate World. Various things came into play as to why I remained with “Company X” over the next 16 years. I started with the company during a very tough market with 18 percent interest rates. Yes… no joke, 18 percent! Sure, housing prices were less, but compensation was as well. I was willing to work hard because times were tough and company budgets were tight. But I enjoyed my place of employment, first and foremost, because I was surrounded by great people. Okay… admittedly, there were a few that didn’t stand the test of hard work and time, but for the most part, I worked with hard working people that possessed great minds.

So… why the title of this blog? Bear with me… I’m getting there.

I started in the Accounting Department of “Company X” — not an area anyone would see me in today. But remember, it was a tough market, the job opening was there, and I was young with time to figure out where I would best fit in, be able to contribute, and just plain enjoy what I do.

One afternoon I approached my boss, Michael, with a question that I was a little uncomfortable to ask because, quite frankly, I thought I should probably know the answer. I found out my question wasn’t so stupid after all. But the best part was that Michael, obviously sensing my unease with asking the question, assured me that it was always okay to ask a question and most important, if I made a mistake that could not easily be corrected, to make sure I let him know. He told me, “Sometimes it’s simply all in the recovery. We will all make mistakes, so come to me and we will figure it out.” This certainly didn’t give license to being careless, but rather built trust with my boss.

Through the years, I moved to other departments, reported to others, and ultimately ended up reporting to the Company President who had a framed inscription on his wall that read: “The fool learns from the mistakes of his own. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” A little intimidating because he lived by that motto. He expected a lot from his employees, could be extremely tough, but also appreciated hard work, and rewarded people and acknowledged their commitment.

Those two quotes I’d come to know seemed to be a bit in conflict with one another, yet I decided to employ both in what I did professionally and personally. I decided to watch others, learn from their mistakes early on with the hope of preventing myself from making the same mistake… and while knowing making mistakes was inevitable, that’s where the “recovery” comes in. Recognizing a mistake and quickly turning it around can make all the difference in how others view you and, most importantly, how you view yourself. We often beat ourselves up over misjudgments, bad decisions, wrong turns in life…but quickly recognizing it and determining how to “recover” just makes things so much better.

When I held positions with others reporting to me, I made sure those who I managed knew that they weren’t on their own. We were a team. We were surely going to make mistakes. But as a group, we decided that when it happens, we’d pull together and figure out a recovery plan. It’s amazing how simply letting an employee know that you realize that they are human — just like you, since we are all human — can build trust and loyalty. For how it has served me in my personal life, I have always instilled in my child that “sometimes it’s simply all in the recovery” — that we will all make mistakes; hopefully, not disastrous ones (that’s where the quote “the wise man learns from the mistakes of others” comes in handy). As a result, I think my son trusts me and knows that I am there for him no matter what situation may arise. My husband, a teacher, often refers to that specific quote with his students. When they find themselves starting to fall behind or their behavior less than acceptable, he always asks them, “What’s my wife’s favorite quote?”