Chuck Fried is a great person to work for. He gets it done, and he wants to see you royally mess up once in a while. In fact, one of his favorite interview questions is to ask candidates to describe a time that they really messed up. Most people don’t know how to really answer that question.

According to him, messing up is proving that you’re stepping outside the box…going beyond your comfort zone and that’s what makes you a better employee and ultimately a better person.

Today, I’m going to get personal. For those of you who know me, what I’m about to confide will not come as a surprise…but if you don’t know me, then here’s a tasty tidbit about me. I’ve been accused of being a perfectionist. That’s right. Everything I do, I try to make sure I am doing it right.

I mean, I literally get anxious if I think I’m failing at something even if it isn’t something you can really FAIL at.

For example, in 2010, I lost both my grandparents within three months of one another. The grief could be overwhelming at times. I’ve mentioned my grandma before in my blogs, and as a side note, she was an amazing lady. She was my best friend and I confided all my secrets with her. She was the first person I called with news; good or bad.

Well, as I continue to handle the process of grieving her death, there are times that I actually fear that I am failing at grieving. I feel like it’s a failure to cry at a holiday or special occasion, or like it’s wrong to be sad when I can’t pick up the phone to share some good news with her. But as time has passed, I have started to realize that everyone handles the grief process differently and how I feel is completely natural.

“learning what you’re not doing well isn’t always a horrible thing.”

So now knowing a little more about me, you can imagine how I feel when it comes time to have a face-to-face professional evaluation. A face-to-face meeting is really time to air out the good, the bad and the ugly. I like to hear what I’m doing right, but it’s really hard for me to hear what I’m doing wrong. I’m working on it though, and I am writing this blog to let you know that learning what you’re not doing well isn’t always a horrible thing.

I’ve had several, sit down conversations with Chuck to evaluate my position at TxMQ. And as anxious as I am going into them, I always leave feeling like I can conquer the world. That’s because not only do we discuss the things about my position that aren’t working, we brainstorm ideas for new directions. I leave the meeting knowing that I will have to step outside the box and try something new, and professionally speaking it has done wonders for my career progress.

“Ask questions and be willing to really listen to the answers.”

I encourage you to sit down with your managers, even if your company doesn’t have a formal review process. Have an open discussion about your progress. Ask questions and be willing to really listen to the answers.

Now this is hard for me to say, but nobody is going to be perfect 100% of the time. I’ve learned that and I have also learned that it is totally OK to make a mistake, as long as you learn from it and move forward.

Use that face-to-face meeting to obtain feedback and leave it knowing you’re going to work hard to capitalize on your strengths and work on the weakness. Use the information to improve your life, on both a professional and personal level.

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