OK, I admit it. I once ordered a McRib. (Don’t judge me. It was college. I was experimenting. Plus, someone else is ordering it, or it wouldn’t come back every year.)

I filed it under the heading of “Mistakes You Only Make Once.”

No one likes to make mistakes, but they can be a great learning lesson. Of course, it’s great to learn from someone else’s mistake – all gain, no pain.

Ever wonder why there’s a font called Lorem Ipsum? It’s nonsense Latin used as temporary copy when a brochure, website or newspaper is being designed because people have been fired for filling the space with funny, but inappropriate fake text that somehow got through to the client or general public.

This got me thinking about mistakes in business that you hope you only make once — taking a media call unprepared; accidentally hitting reply all to an email when your pointed comments were meant for only one person; relying on spell check to catch everything rather than thoroughly proofing the document yourself.

I have done all three and vowed it would never happen again. The spell check incident happened when I was a fairly new employee working on copy for a radio ad. The good news is the client didn’t see it. The bad news is that the boss did, and the entire office had a chuckle at my expense. I meant to type the word “genteel” and instead used “gentile.” My only defense is that I must have been having a flashback to my childhood when my dad bought a new car at Gentile Oldsmobile. The family pronounced the name “Genteel” – maybe it was legit or maybe they just wanted to have it rhyme with Oldsmobile.  

I recently sent out a tweet asking for mistakes you only make once. Here are some of the responses I received. Learn from their poor judgment:

Eating beets. (This is a mistake that I would never, ever make.)

Going camping. (Ditto.)

Thinking I could single-handedly bring back the saddle shoe to the fashion landscape when I was in junior high school.

Underestimating the power of wasabi (though it cleared my sinuses, so it wasn’t a lose-lose).

Ssshing someone else’s kid at a performance. Mama Bear was not happy.