Tuesday September 13, 2016
Have you ever had one of those days when you reorganized your file storage system, and it broke almost every single image on your website... including over 15 months' worth of blog posts?
Yeah... me too.
It was a pretty big facepalm moment for me, and a time-consuming inconvenience... but it also had the seed of an opportunity.
My pilot error gave me a needed kick in the butt.
I will confess: during busy periods, and even during some not-so-busy periods, I sometimes procrastinate on tasks that could benefit my business, but that don't seem immediately essential.
A lot of the time, that's a good thing. It's important to prioritize, and to avoid trying to take on every task all at once.
But sometimes, it can also prevent me from getting the full possible benefit from the efforts I'm already putting out.
This, I suspect, was one of those times.
You see, part of the reason for my image-breaking blunder was that I'd recently transferred the affected site to a new host. This host includes not only the aforementioned image hosting system, but also SEO features that my previous host did not have.
This meant I had the opportunity to increase the discoverability of the blog posts I'd already taken the time to make... but I hadn't made the time to take advantage of that opportunity yet.
After all the hours of work I'd put into those blog posts, I decided it was time to make the most of them.
As I fixed the images in each blog post, I also started improving the SEO on those posts.
It actually made for a handy progress tracking system - the post list indicates whether or not the SEO feature has been used on each post, so I could tell at a glance which posts I'd fixed and which still needed my attention.
The experience was a good reminder for me.
While optimizing old blog posts still isn't my #1 priority, and I'm not going to allow it to take over my whole day, the experience was a reminder that every mistake holds the seed of an opportunity - but we have to be willing to look for it.
The next time you make a mistake, I invite you to ask yourself a few questions:
1. What did I learn from this experience? Is there something I now know not to do again, or something I'll know I need to do next time?
2. Is there a flaw in my system, business, lifestyle or mindset that I discovered through this experience, which I now have an opportunity to correct?
3. If something got broken or lost because of this error, can I use my newfound knowledge to rebuild it even better?
4. Is there an opportunity I've been ignoring, which I now have the impetus to pursue?
Sure, breaking the images on my own website isn't a big, disastrous mistake. Maybe your slip-up was much more serious.
But if that's the case, then it's all the more important for you to find the opportunity in this mess.
After all, if you've paid dearly for this lesson, you might as well get fair value from it, right? ;)
Have you made mistakes that taught you valuable lessons or created opportunities?
I invite you to encourage and inspire your fellow readers by sharing your story in the comments.