We’re all familiar with the resume. A document that “must” be (depending on who you ask) one or two pages. It’s our primary sales and marketing tool for our career. We list our experience in the light of our greatest achievements and – though we should never lie on the resume – if there are any blemishes, screw ups or failures in our career, we leave them off.
You can argue about how misleading that is, but there is honesty and then there is brutal honesty.
A private resume
But what if we also had the opposite? An anti-resume. A private resume that only you see. A document where you listed every time you screwed up during your career. This is a living, ongoing document that you add to regularly with two columns. First, a description of the scenario where you screwed up. The second column is an explanation of the lesson(s) that you learned from those experiences.
A document like this would generally not be for the public to see, but for you to review on a regular basis to remind you of a few things:
You aren’t perfect. You make mistakes on a fairly regular basis.
How much you’ve learned from your mistakes.
How different your public resume is from who you actually are
How much from your anti-resume you could include in your public resume – word-smithed correctly – to show potential skills you have developed from your mistakes.
How beneficial mistakes can be to help you develop and become the person that you are.
Most people want to put their mistakes behind them and move on, focusing on their successes. But I’d challenge anyone to think back to the beginning of their career and try to remember as many mistakes as they can remember, and document what they learned from them. Keep the list as an on-going log to see what else you can learn from your mistakes going forward.