Making mistakes and improving

Melissa Hart

Before we do anything else, let’s clear up the email issue at the end of this column. I haven’t used the mhart1 email in years. If you have sent an email to that address, I have not received it and until recently, I didn’t realize it was the wrong email. I apologize for not updating that. Please use this email from now on: and feel free to resend any emails that I have not responded to.I scrolled up on a meme recently that said if you’re not making mistakes then you’re not improving or progressing. My immediate thought was “What a nice platitude to make someone feel good about a mistake.”I have certainly flubbed up my share of things over the years. In some seasons of life, it seems like a constant barrage of apologies and promises to do better while other times I feel quite confident and comfortable. Apparently, I was in that comfort zone and needed to be jolted out of it.Later that same morning I was emailing a co-worker explaining the importance of making sure that the final details be covered before we send the magazine to print. I am not what you would call obsessive compulsive about anything. Ask all the oldest children in my extended family, they will tell you that I’m as carefree about details as anyone. It drives them crazy, but they tolerate me because they know full well their lives would be absent of any laughter or joy without the baby of the family releasing the tense moments with a one liner.But when it comes to sending a magazine to print, I prefer to have things in order, it keeps everyone happy, especially advertisers. As I was explaining the reasons to pay close attention to the details, I think I may have used the words, “I never send a magazine to print without making sure…”I should have known that word “never” was going to rear its ugly head as soon as I sent that email. Less than an hour later I received a text from an advertiser and you guessed it, I did not have all my ducks lined up before I sent it to print. That “never” statement turned into “I never send a magazine to print without making sure… until today.”I did exactly what I was warning my co-worker about and now I was going to have to apologize and offer an expensive solution. I’m not above apologizing but I absolutely hate messing something up that is so routine in my daily work. In the end, the advertiser was incredibly gracious and the result of my mistake yielded nothing more than a good reminder for me to slow down, double check my lists and realize no matter how long we have been doing a job, if we aren’t making mistakes we aren’t improving.Melissa is a farmwife, mom and freelance writer residing on a dairy farm in southern Michigan. She is available for speaking engagements by contacting her at Visit her weblog at