You Have the Right to Make Mistakes, Lose Everything and Start Over

You Have the Right to Make Mistakes, Lose Everything and Start Over October 22, 2012

I took my little family into Philadelphia for a day in the big city. We went to a museum, ate dinner at a trendy restaurant, and did some shopping.

As we were walking down Walnut Street, my older daughter suddenly stopped in her tracks. She turned around and blurted out, “We have to find Lush! Please, can we go to Lush? It’s the greatest store! Mom is going to love it!”

Lush, it turns out, is a funky little boutique that sells soaps and cosmetics, with delicious-looking chunks and bars laid out in shelves and barrels throughout the store. Never mind that I wanted to eat everything I saw rather than rub it on my skin, but it all made sense when the friendly sales person explained that the store concept was modeled after a European deli.


To help save the environment, Lush avoids all packaging and plastics by selling the product raw. Thus, the barrels and buckets. Even the shampoo is sold in bars rather than in a plastic bottle.

As my kids perused the soapy goods while my wife enjoyed a free massage, I turned to examine a poster on the wall that explained the company’s core beliefs. It was nice stuff about using natural products, making everything themselves, not hurting animals in the process – you know, the usual millennial-urban-hippie-vegan lifestyle fare. But one line in their core beliefs struck me, and has stuck with me:

 We believe…in the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start again.

Well. What a strange thing for a company to believe in.

It’s not the making mistakes part that hit me, it’s about the right to make mistakes. And to lose everything! It makes me feel terrified and liberated and inspired all at the same time.

But what do you think – would this core belief allow their employees to take more risks, to invent more scented products, to beautify their unique brand even more? Probably. Would it even give them a sense of freedom? Or would they just screw up more often?

What if you gave yourself the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start over again?

Would anything change?

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