Mistakes

Jeff Altman
3 min readFeb 11, 2021

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

When I worked in search, I had a client who would ask, “Everyone makes mistakes. I make mistakes. You make mistakes. Tell me about a mistake you make professionally and what you learned from it.”

There are too many people who are afraid to answer honestly.

They offer sanitized situations and sanitized lessons.

It’s a mistake.

It’s a mistake because you connect to a lie, PLUS, they learned nothing about you or your character.

One lesson I learned myself was with a workshop I ran many years ago. The organization I was doing it for ran men’s retreat weekends around the world and would place them in remote campsites that people would drive a few hours to.

I asked the question, “What would happen if we put it in New York City?”

I figured out the mechanics of doing all the weekend processes in New York shortly after 9/11. My reason for wanting to do it there was to make it easy for the attendees to arrive.

What I missed, what I failed to anticipate was that because it would be easy for the attendees to get there, it would also be easy for them to leave early when things became too challenging for them.

That was my blind spot. A few men left early. The staff and I were disappointed with each of the departures. Yet, we produced a spectacular weekend for the attendees.

If I were an interview talking about this, I would be that forthcoming with the person interviewing me. I missed something important.

I also learned that by having a spectacular weekend for the attendees, one would volunteer to assist with a variation on this training that was unique for the organization. Without his having experienced the workshop that I lead, the organization would never have delivered this second training. His skill set was unique.

It wouldn’t negate my “miss.” However, it did lead to a second triumph for the organization that would not have occurred without my taking the risk of leaving this training in a city environment.

By prototyping it as I did, similar urban workshops are now done in the United States, Mexico, and India that might not have occurred without my…

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Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & JobSearchTV.com. Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you