Yesterday morning I stood in front of a group of people and told them to admit their weaknesses, which of course has me thinking about mine. I did this during a time management workshop, so the example I be used for myself is how bad my memory is and how I cope with that. Tuesday another of mine was brought to light on this blog so what better place to admit it than here? (Don’t worry this isn’t going to become a tell-all platform for my over-indulgences in coffee and chocolate. )
I can’t spell. Well clearly I’m capable of writing, but I am not good at spelling. I’m sure my grade school teachers and my Mother would be horrified to hear me publicly admit it. If it weren’t for spell check built into word processors and many web browsers I’d be in real trouble. I often look up words, both in a dictionary and in a thesaurus (ok and Google). It’s also very common for me to leave out words or not notice when a correctly spelled word is not correctly used. No I don’t make the there their they’re error, but I might not notice that I’ve used you instead of your. I will never be an editor or a proof reader. I am deeply envious of friends who’s undergraduate degrees are English, their skill and comfort with language is amazing to me.
What should have been a happy occurrence for me, the retweeting of my blog post, instead felt like public humiliation. As soon as I’d posted it to Twitter I saw the error (seeing it in a different context did it I think) I corrected the title (but I couldn’t correct the permalink or the links wouldn’t work, so permanent reminder) Every time someone retweeted it without correcting the You to Your, I cringed.
The point about admitting your weaknesses is it allows you to take steps to correct or compensate for them. When I write for my library I have a proof reader, almost every time. If I’m writing a paper or putting together a presentation, I get a proof reader. When I’m commenting online I try to reread very carefully before hitting publish, it doesn’t always work. When it comes to this blog it’s a little harder to find a proof reader in a timely manner. Instead I try to write all of my posts at least a day before and reread in the morning (I found 7 errors this morning). I also proof read them in the “preview” mode somehow this helps errors stand out. Errors still happen.
What do I do when I still make a mistake? I cringe, acknowledge it, correct it immediately, hope no one thinks less for me for it, vow to do better next time and move on. It also seems to make me more tolerant of this type of mistake in others (misspell my name and it’s a whole different story). I think the correct way to handle them is to politely and kindly point them out, allow them to be corrected and move on. The end.
So that’s my approach: identify your weaknesses, cope with it, accept mistakes will happen anyway, acknowledge them when they do, correct them, apologize if necessary, learn from what happened (just because you acknowledge doesn’t mean you stop trying to improve) and move on.
What is your approach? We all have weaknesses, what are yours? How do you handle them?