Have you ever experienced a moment when you believed you made a monumental mistake, but as time goes by, you’re grateful it happened?
I once had the opportunity to share my favorite mistake, and I wanted to share it again with you.
It all started when I was a young executive sitting at my desk at the Walt Disney Company and the phone rang. It was a reporter from Business Trend magazine calling with a simple question, “Where do you see yourself 10 to 15 years from now?” My answer changed the course of my life.
Now, my answer wasn’t the monumental change, but the fact that I gave an answer was. When I told the reporter how I saw myself as the president and CEO of the Walt Disney World Resort and eventually chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, I wasn’t just sharing my personal career dream. I was breaking a cardinal rule at the company: Don’t speak to the media unless you’re expressly authorized to do so.
I got lucky and they decided to keep me around a bit longer. But a year later, I could feel my time coming, and let’s just say the feeling wasn’t accompanied by the singing of “It’s a Small World After All.”
Answering that reporter’s question was a huge mistake, but it is now my favorite mistake. That mistake forced me to really take a look at my life and my career. I needed to decide what my new path would be and what my life would be like. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.