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My recent conversation with Miley

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

One of the biggest hit songs right now is Flowers by Miley Cyrus.

Here’s the chorus:

I can buy myself flowers

Write my name in the sand

Talk to myself for hours

Say things you don’t understand

I can take myself dancing

I can hold my own hand

Yeah I can love me better than

You can.

We can be a great companion to ourselves and it's important to remember this when we're in relationships that aren't working well.

Still, I find myself responding to (arguing with) Miley when I hear her singing. Why?

Because of what this community of subscribers has recently shown me.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a tool on workplace belonging. After a colleague pointed out a typo, I sent out a correction, highlighting the need we have for other people who can see things we cannot.

Something interesting happened next: I received a LOT of responses from people confessing their own cringy typos. Here are a few:

“I worked for a United States Congresswoman and I misspelled the name of the state she represented."

“I submitted a proposal for a major contract, highlighting how our firm did quality work…but I spelled it like this: qualiry.”

“I gave a keynote address to a room of three hundred people and on my title slide I spelled my own name wrong.”

This was my most-read, most-responded to e-mail communication since I’ve been sending newsletters. It has generated many conversations on- and offline.

Confessing mess-ups. Listening. Relating. Maybe even forgiving. When we openly express our very human condition of not always excelling in every way, we give each other something vital: connection and community.

Workplace culture includes how we think about mess-ups and how we respond to them – the ones other people make and the ones we make. Do you hide them? Defend them? Punish them? Pretend they don’t matter when they do? Perhaps you lean in to them.

Remote work has changed the way we connect. But it has not changed our need for connection. It has accentuated the skills we need to make it happen, one of which is how we meet people in their mistakes, mis-haps, and misunderstandings.

"Remote work has changed the way we connect. But it has not changed our need for connection."

I used to believe that being in a role of significant authority meant I couldn’t let others see that I had messed up (better yet, I shouldn’t make mistakes at all). This belief guided how I acted and the results I got. It starts with us: unpacking how we think, deciding what we want, and figuring out where we can make different choices to get it, in all relationships, every day.


I’ve used three different strategies: Trusted friends and family. A coach. And long-term professional peer groups, a resource I only became aware of a few years ago. I encourage you seek out a resource like this. It’s a gift you can give yourself. Kind of like those flowers Miley talks about.

PS: If you want some names of folks who have helped me, let me know.



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