It's A Good Thing
Martha Stewart is one of the biggest business comeback stories of all time. Having just penned a new book at 72, “Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others,” Stewart remains a powerhouse in revenue generation. Even prison time after being found guilty of securities fraud and obstruction of justice didn’t stop Stewart. Post incarceration, Stewart has an estimated net worth of $638 million and lands on “richest celebrity” lists with some consistency.
What accounts for this kind of success? Answer: persistence, focus and tenacity.
During the height of the Stewart insider trading scandal, she appeared in a cooking segment on CBS’s The Early Show. When grilled by the anchor about the criminal charges before her, Stewart continued to chop cabbage and remarked, “I want to focus on my salad.”
Moral of the story: We all make mistakes. In Stewart’s case, sometimes really big and unethical ones, but there is always a way back—professional redemption of sorts. In fact, a mistake can be a wonderful stepping-stone to new growth, albeit embarrassing or painful.
Every business experiences growing pains, missteps and miscalculations. The measure of character comes in how you handle them. Do you lie down and die and wallow in self-defeat, or do you get up, shake it off and keep on moving? If the error was one of ethics, then have you put systems in place and worked with your team to eliminate unethical practices and/or people? If the error was an honest mistake, did you and your team learn from it and take steps to avoid similar events from happening in the future? And lastly, regardless of what kind of mistake was made, did you take responsibility for it? This last piece is an important piece that speaks to character and, if necessary, restitution.