Ever Wish you Had a Do-Over at Work?

career advice leadership development May 19, 2023
Elvis Stojko skating at the Stars on Ice tour in 2023

Another chance to perfect a presentation, a conversation or performance?

Earlier this Spring, I attended Stars on Ice with my friend Sherri here in Halifax. It was a last-minute invite on a Friday night to join her and her team in their corporate box and I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t seen Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko skate in person since they were here for the Worlds in 1990. Back then I was one of many MSVU Bachelor or Public Relations students volunteering in the media centre and I got to meet both skaters in person during rehearsals.

Now it’s 2023. I’m on my way out the door and grab a copy of my book, NAIL IT! A Strategic Roadmap to Career Advancement to somehow give to Elvis as a gift. You see I quoted Elvis in Chapter Four: Deal with the Difficult, speaking about how he kept a positive mindset even when things don't always go his way.

In an interview about his career setbacks he said: “The only thing we can control is our reaction to the things around us.” How true. And how ironic because as I got out my book to give to an attendant who said she would ‘get it to him’, I realized that on page 55 I had referred to meeting him at the 1991 World Championships in Halifax. It should have said 1990. Yup. A typo. How did that happen?

But the attendant was waiting so I handed it over. And I hear you. You might say – is a date typo such a big deal? Well, my initial reaction is YES. Because any of my fellow BPR grads from that era will remember our writing teachers - Brent and Judith – who we have heaps of fondness for, but who docked our marks heavily if we made these kinds of errors. So yes, I did enjoy the show but in the back of my mind I was trying not to fret about the incorrect date.

But then something interesting happened.

The show was ending, the skaters were all doing Encore moves (I’m not a skater so I don’t know the terms). And Kurt Browning fell. His farewell tour. Last time on this ice in front of this crowd. He went to do a final twirl and he fell, got up, quickly brushed off his pants and then they all left. But then…Kurt came back on. It was like he was sneaking back on ice. He kind of side-smiled, re-did his twirl jump (my term), landed it perfectly, waved to the crowd and that was that.

I leaned over to my friend and said, “Well, I guess even professionals get Do-Overs.”

And that’s when I got the idea to do my own little do-over. I emailed my book editor and told her about the date screw up. I was heading out of province to a conference in a week and didn’t really want to hand out books with the incorrect date. Anne wrote me back within a few hours and said, “Karen, it’s all fixed, re-uploaded to Amazon. You can re-order copies now and it will say 1990.” Wow. That was easy. I got copies of the brand-new corrected version delivered to my doorstep in just four days. A 1990 version is now making its way to Elvis. Done.

Not all things are as easy to fix as a typo. It might be a conversation that went sideways, or a presentation that didn’t go as planned, or something else where you didn’t walk away feeling like the rock star you are. Healthy reflection and learned lessons are fine, but sometimes you really can fix the glitch with a do-over! You just might need a bit of planning.

3 Questions to Help Resolve Conflict or Fix the Glitch!

If it’s a conversation that you felt didn’t land on the outcome you’d hoped, find some time for a re-set with that individual. Start with owning up to wanting a better ending. Share what’s important for you to achieve in the conversation and ask what’s important to them.

Here is a sequence of 3 questions I find works. You can adapt to suit your purposes:

  1. What’s really important about this?
  2. What does an acceptable solution look like to you?
  3. What would you like to hear? Here’s what’s important for me to articulate.

In golf we call this a mulligan – ‘a second try after your first has gone awry’. You get out another ball and take another swing. It’s a do-over. What’s one way you can smooth out something you don’t feel 100% ?

Reach out and share. I love hearing these stories.

Karen Kelloway, BPR PCC
Your Career Story Editor


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