Dale Kurow Executive Coach
“My time spent with Dale was absolutely instrumental to the growth of my leadership skills. Let me be on record that this document does not do justice to the profound effect that Dale had on me and will have on me for the rest of my managing life.”

Jonathan Lederer, VP, Sales, Popkin Software,
New York City
[Career Essentials] Newsletter October 2004

Getting Comfortable With Mistakes

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Dale R. Kurow

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”

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An e-mail newsletter designed to transform the way you think about your career… and to help you face Mondays with a smile!
by Dale Kurow, M.S., Career & Executive Coach


Dear Readers:

Thank you for your positive feedback on the September issue. It’s always so great to hear from you.

For our end of summer vacation, we spent a glorious week on Fire Island. No cars are allowed on the island and everyone walks around bare footed. Talk about paradise! Here’s a photo of me on one of the garden paths.

The unending vistas of sky and water were thrilling. Every hour the colors changed from celadon green to cerulean blue. For us city dwellers, this was a real treat. And the stars, ahh. Don’t get me started.

We returned to a city at full throttle. People are back to full schedules, starting classes, trying new things. Which brings me to this month’s topic - Getting Comfortable with Mistakes. Are you afraid to try something because you might make a “mistake?” Whoa. Time to rethink your definition of mistakes!

Here’s to an exciting fall.

Happy September!

To Your Success,

Getting Comfortable With Mistakes

I recently talked with a client who was paralyzed at the thought of making another “mistake” in her career.

She was stuck and unable to choose a direction. Her fear of looking stupid, of choosing another career that she wouldn’t like, loomed over her. Her negative thoughts were keeping her from making any move at all.

Does this sound familiar?

Have you pursued a career, or taken an advanced degree, only to find it’s not for you?

What is your willingness to try something new?

If this rings a bell, then I’ve got some comforting thoughts for you.

It’s by your mistakes that you learn and grow. You need to know what you don’t want to do, too!

Making choices is part of being an adult and taking control of your life.

The more choices you make, the more risks you take, the more “mistakes” you will make. That goes with the territory.

Here’s the key: Mistakes are a good thing, if you learn from them. It’s giving up and deciding to do nothing afterwards that is the “mistake.”

When I was starting out in my career, I tried nursing school and dropped out after 6 weeks. I tried to make a living as a commercial artist and found I couldn’t compete with other talented designers. After I got a teaching degree, I discovered that the city was laying off teachers. The list of professions I tried goes on and on.

Getting Comfortable cont'd

When all this was happening I wasn’t very happy. I kept thinking, when am I going to find ‘the’ career that’s right for me? And it didn’t help that I had relatives who reminded me of the smooth career trajectory of my “smart” cousin who became an attorney.

As it turned out, I found several careers that fit for a while. I worked in a corporation for 12 years, was promoted 5 times and finally knew I didn’t want corporate life anymore.

I moved on to the next ‘right’ position. I never felt married to any profession.

I had careers and jobs that suited me at particular times in my life. When I was in my 30’s and 40’s, making my mark, earning a big salary, having a 4 -window office with a view and a title were important. Now, I could care less about those things.

Job satisfaction, making my own schedule, doing work that I love—those are the factors that drive me now.

Which brings me to a critical point: If I hadn’t made those career “mistakes,” I would still be wondering, “you know, maybe I could have been a (fill in the blank).

I have no regrets that I tried things that I didn’t end up staying with long-term. In fact, my past “mistakes” enable me to use my experiences to guide clients.

So what can you learn from my story?

Wisdom and self-knowledge come with making choices; experiencing the possibilities that are presented to you everyday. Focus on what you can learn about yourself, not on the fear of making a mistake. In the end, they won’t be mistakes. They will add to the reservoir of life skills that you can use wherever you end up.


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I also offer an exploratory half-hour of coaching with no obligation.

Contact me at 212/787-6097 or dale@dalekurow.com

I’m currently offering one-on-one coaching to:

  • Create a game plan for changing careers

  • Select the best career options to pursue

  • Develop the skills to deal with a difficult boss

  • Deal with office politics

  • Build your personal foundation and get the support you need to make changes

  • Help you move forward after being laid off

Author: Dale R. Kurow, M.S.

Dale Kurow is a career and executive coach who helps individuals find success and personal enrichment at their vocations and who works with corporations to maximize the potential of valuable employees.

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