On Mistakes and Credibility

So, I am hurrying to write a blog post, and I am sharing this quote that I have known forever, which is the following:




In my speed, the original post image, I wrote myself as the author. 

As someone who has been writing for over the past fifteen years in this space, I do EVERYTHING to correctly attribute ideas to others or acknowledge when something isn’t mine.

As I re-read my post, I realized that although this quote was shared years ago, it was not mine. 

So what did I do? I deleted it everywhere I could and then reposted it on Instagram, acknowledging my mistake. 

No one called me out.


I did it because I knew it wasn’t mine; honestly, I would rather point out my mistakes before someone else does it for me!

This reminded me of a story from my time as a basketball referee.

I was doing one of my very first college games, which was incredibly nerve-wracking. There are usually two referees at the high school level, but at the college and professional level, it is usually a 3-person crew. In this case, I was the most inexperienced.

We were about one-quarter through the game, and I had not made a single call. Even though there wasn’t really a call to make in my areas, I felt that it somehow made me look like I didn’t know what I was doing. All of a sudden, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, blew my whistle, and knew I had messed up. So did everyone else, including my partners and the coach.

Immediately, the coach started yelling at me while I ran up and down the court. I said, “I will talk to you during the first stoppage of play.” So he called a timeout with the sole intent of letting me know how wrong I was.

I started to walk over to him, and my partners said, “Do not go over there!” They knew I messed up and were worried about the interaction.

I walked over calmly, and before the coach could say anything, I looked at him and said, “Coach…there’s nothing to say because that was a terrible call on my part. I apologize and will do better.” He looked at me, smiled, and patted me on the back. He didn’t say a single word.

Honestly, what could he say? 

“That was a terrible call!”

“Yeah, I know. I just told you that.”

I don’t think making a mistake means you lose credibility.

In fact, I really appreciated what Adam Grant said in this tweet on the topic:


“Owning up to your mistakes doesn’t cast doubt on your credibility. Admitting you were wrong shows that you care about getting it right. Recognizing moments of bad judgment is a step toward demonstrating good judgment.

Issuing a correction is a mark of intellectual integrity.”

Adam Grant


That day, I learned that if you mess up, and you know you did, it is way easier to own it than to let someone else do that for you. I am trying to hold onto that lesson to this day!




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