Sorry About The Terrible Mistake

This post isn’t mine for a change, it’s something I read in one of Michael Heppell’s emailed newsletters that struck a chord with me, so I wrote to him and his team and asking if I could "steal" the newsletter and share it here. They kindly allowed me to reproduce it below.

If you don’t already know about Michael Heppell, he’s a greatly sought after motivation and success coach, an international speaker and a best selling author with a number of thoroughly recommended books, such as ‘How to be Brilliant’ (now in it’s tenth anniversary edition) and ‘Flip It’.

“It’s my bad.”

As in the quirky expression our American cousins use when they admit to doing something wrong.

I’ve made a few mistakes recently and thought I should explain myself.

I used to have my newsletters proofed 3 times before they went out. The odd mistake would occasionally sneak by, but not too often.

Now they get proofed once at the writing stage and that’s it. It’s a time vs productivity thing. Of course (after the proofing) it still has to be cut and pasted, sometimes we add the odd graphic and then it’s released to tens of thousands of happy readers.


Well not quite.

There have been mistakes in my last three mailings. Not big ones, just daft typos.

But that doesn’t deter the grammar police. They’re in there like a shot. Pointing out that I wrote ‘word’ instead of ‘work’ and ‘Start’ instead of ‘Star ’.

That’s fine.

In fact I wish they would read my books and point out the mistakes. At least my publishers can fix them in a revised edition.

But with a newsletter, when it’s gone it’s gone.

Here’s the thing. In my last newsletter there were 258 words which were perfect. But did they get a mention? No, just the one word that was wrong. Easier to point out what’s wrong than what’s right.
It’s like your work, especially if you’re the boss. You end up focusing on the one thing that your team member got wrong rather than the 258 things they got right.

Let’s Flip It

I remember when I first read the One Minute Manager, being struck by the simplicity of ‘Catch people doing something right’.

So here’s my challenge to you.

Thank 5 people today for what they are doing right.

Simple, but is it easy?

Let me know how you get on.

Be Brilliant!

Michael Heppell (signature)

Michael ‘Thank You’ Heppel

Michael Heppell logo

There are a couple of reasons I particularly wanted to share this one. For a start I’m one of said grammar purists that can spot a missing apostrophe (in someone else work!) at 100 yards and always find at least one typo in any book. Sometimes whole sentences repeated (or cut off) and once a chapter upside down (but that’s a binding error). It does throw you off, if you’ve that sort of a mind.

It’s another reminder to focus on what’s write, sorry, what’s right in your world – and not let one insignificant typo or error ruin your day! A computer consultant friend gave me some business cards to hand out and my first reaction wasn’t, Sure mate, happy to help, it was to blurt out, You are doing upgardes now? His printers should have picked that up as well, but that’s the point, really. Most people wouldn’t even notice it, ever, while others will blow it all out of proportion.

Doctoral candidate: "How did you find my paper on economical cold fusion, Professor?"

Nuclear physics professor: "There was an error in chapter 3, you wrote ‘fission’ instead of ‘fusion’"

Doctoral candidate: "Yes, Sir, possibly, but the technology actually works. It’s been powering the lab for the past 5 months."

Nuclear physics professor: "As I was saying, chapter 3, page 47, fourth line. 5 words in if I recall."

Doctoral candidate: " ! "

( If you are a grammarian you could do worse than follow Grammarly on Facebook, where I got the apt picture below. Now I just need to leg it over to Shoebox Blog and get permission for using their wonderful cartoon!)

Blogging typo effect

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: