My February Resolution

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“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”
–Jack Handey, Saturday Night Livesalami-cheese-sandwich-800x533

I was scheduled to have foot surgery last Friday morning.  As I was both reading my emails on my iPhone and helping my wife Shannon with the kids’ school lunches that morning, I popped a bite of cheese and salami into my mouth.  A minute later I realized I had broken the cardinal rule of no food or drink eight hours before surgery.  My surgery had to be rescheduled, and I am limping around for the near term.

I know what many of you are thinking (which is what I would be thinking): “Who cares?”  Or better yet, “Greg, you’re an idiot. Who can’t follow a simple rule like don’t eat before surgery?”

Which is exactly my point.

The truth is, I can be pretty hard on others for making silly mistakes and especially hard on those I love the most. My wife tells me I can be tough on the family for trivial failings, and she’s totally right.

Even if you hate dumb mistakes, you have to admit they’re becoming harder to avoid. In this new world of multitasking and juggling kids, school, jobs, and the latest in technology, all of us are just more prone to doing stupid stuff.

So after my Friday morning snack, I made a February resolution to be a little less judgmental.  Join me for the next couple weeks. I can’t promise a world with less stupid mistakes but hopefully one where we can forgive ourselves for falling short sometimes and, of course, the occasional pre-surgery cheese and salami indulgence.

  • Sean Bell

    Greg–important point here about workplace culture. Letting your team know that we all make stupid mistakes once in a while helps with transparency. There’s only one “cardinal sin” in this regard–trying to cover up the stupid mistake rather than just coming clean.

  • daryn

    I’m going to totally ignore the point of your post and just say that foot surgery after a bite of salami and cheese would probably have been ok :)

    • Greg Gottesman

      I agree. Maybe I should write a post about the role that litigation plays in making surgeons and anesthesiologists super-conservative.

  • Red Russak

    Gotta love the Jack Handey reference :)

  • dlam

    “..I made a February resolution to be a little less judgmental. ” Will hold you to this as we get thru our pitches in the next couple weeks! :-)

    • Greg Gottesman

      Doesn’t apply to MBA students, sorry!