Our attention on mistakes and failure for the last few weeks has really focused on one fundamental question: What happens to the inner life of a person when a mistake or failure takes place? The messages people receive in these moments frequently result in their feeling and believing that they are Not Good Enough. This belief diminishes their ability to perform at their highest level. In other words, the quality of our human doing is impacted by the experiences we as human beings have when we make mistakes or fail. 

People who know me know that I am a crazy, fanatical Chicago Cub baseball fan. After 108 years of failing, my beloved Cubs won the World Series in 2016. The Cubs roster included several young players under the age of 26. Throughout the regular season and playoffs, these young players and their veteran teammates made numerous mistakes. How did such a young team with a history of failure perform at such a high level in order to win the World Series?

After striking out, bobbling a ground ball, dropping a pop-up or throwing a wild pitch, the players never heard a humiliating response from their manager, Joe Maddon. Perhaps the most important reason for their success was stated by Maddon:

“When you have talented players, which we do, you put them in the right situations, where they are not afraid of making mistakes. Any player who plays for me, or us, can never be afraid of making a mistake. That’s the worst thing that you can do—to coach aggressiveness out of a player, to coach fear into a player.”

If we want whomever we are ‘managing’ to perform at their highest levels, we need to assure that they are never afraid of making mistakes. Top 20s keep fear out of mistakes and learn lessons that help them become the best version of themselves.


  • To what extent do you or people on your ‘team’ fear making mistakes or failing?
  • What can be done to minimize this so people perform at their highest level?

From our team…Willow, Kevin, and Tom…who keep hitting home runs.

Paul Bernabei
Top 20 Training