Today’s guest on the show is Meshell Baker. Meshell is an international speaker and purpose coach.  She is the founder of DreamBigBus Tour. In this episode, we focus on mistakes and the beauty of them. Meshell is a strong believer that there is a valuable lesson to be learned in mistakes both big and small and shares her logic behind this with many people who have found that adopting this mindset is very beneficial.

It hurts to make mistakes, especially in business, whether you are an employer or an employee. If we can see beyond the negativity of our actions and not only learn, but succeed, from them, then what more could one ask for? Meshell will show you how.

What you will learn:

  • The importance of mistakes
  • How you can learn from mistakes and translate those lessons into success
  • How businesses and workers can constructively deal with mistakes
  • How we can see the beauty in mistakes, although we hate making them
  • The idea of focusing on a deeper purpose to achieve results, rather than setting goals and why it is a better alternative
  • And much more…


Narrator:        Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.

Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.

Josh:                Hey, this is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business.

Today, my guest is Meshell Baker. Meshell is a visionary. She’s a congruency catalyst and is a captivating and highly engaging– oh, you’re an international speaker, trainer, purpose coach, well-respected teacher of vision. And in May 2007, she launched her DreamBigBus tour. I love bus tours. Speaking with a twist, she’s traveling around in a 22-foot class B recreational vehicle. And her big question is– and we’re not going to start here but we’ll come back to this a little bit later, what would you do if you could not fail? Because, as I said to her before we started, not my favorite statement but when she explained it, I kind of liked it.

So, Meshell, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on today.

Meshell:          It’s so good to be here, Josh.

Josh:                And I’m a little curious. I’m a big fan of mistakes and your last thing for vision is N never stop, the beauty of mistakes. So why don’t we start there. And what do you mean by the beauty of mistakes? Aren’t mistakes bad?

Meshell:          Oh, mistakes are absolutely wonderful. Mistakes are simply the lessons that we learn on the journey of life. Everything that we experience is simply an opportunity to build our character.

I always look at it like this: In order to get from A, where I am, to B, where I desire to be – something I want to achieve/attain/acquire/become, it requires that I step into some type of uncertainty. And the fact that I’m going into uncertainty means that what are the chances I’m going to do it perfect the first time? Probably zero, so welcome to mistakes in learning and get on with it.

Josh:                So I’m an owner of a business and mistakes always cost me money. And I hate it when my employees make mistakes because it always costs me money. Is that true?

Meshell:          Well, there is going to be an investment in learning. We have a learning curve before we get things seamless. You know, you look at the businesses that have been around for decades and over a century and they are still making mistakes every time they create a new product or they expand into a new arena. They face the same challenges. And it’s the willingness to look at what you’ve learned and how to do it better, how to see how you can use less resources to create a better profit margin. How can we all learn together? And what is the result that you want to create?

So, the willingness to embrace what you’ve learned and make the change and adjustments, it’s okay. But when you go in and start getting frustrated– I always say, “It’s rarely that you’re able to get a positive from a negative.” So the positive mindset that “Yes, we might hit some bumps and barriers but this is going to be amazing” is one of the great ways to come out smelling like roses, so to speak.

Josh:                Cool. So if somebody is anti-mistakes – they just don’t like mistakes. They done like people making mistakes around them. They tend to punish people when they do make mistakes and they realize they do this. How would you help them change from a mistake-intolerant to, at least mistake tolerant – if not, mistake-loving?

Meshell:          Ah, how would I help somebody change? Well, one of the things I would actually do is have them list out some of their largest and greatest disappointments in life. Many of those are attributable to either a mistake they made or a mistake someone else made, and start to discuss – give them the opportunity. How would you do that differently? So when you look at something that has disappointed you and your own ability and how you would do it differently, you’re actually looking at a way to embrace a mistake.

Most people have actually made mistakes and might not be willing to be accountable or responsible for the mistake. But when you go at it at a different aspect, they can see the beauty of it and the willingness to learn from it. Then, it starts to develop.

And now, list out, “how can we do this intentionally?”

Josh:                So when someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for a mistake they made, why would that usually happen? And I think this is a big deal because this is something that I think is a problem, at least, in American business and, my suspicion, businesses all over the world.

Meshell:          There are various reasons so we can’t really snap this up into one reason why someone won’t take responsibility. We could say nature/nurture. It could be a learned behavior of not being responsible. Someone could have a sense of entitlements and just believe that they’re so good and so great that nothing wrong goes in their life.

Josh:                That’s called narcissism [laughter].

Meshell:          Yeah… I’m trying to be nice and polite [laughter]. But for many people, they don’t know how to fix it. So when I don’t know how to fix something and it’s a barrier between me and what I want, the other way is to justify or rationalize why, “It’s not mine. I’m not accountable.” Then I don’t have to deal with it. Then I can either take another path of something that’s easier, quicker or simpler. But to not be accountable and responsible, that means you just shut that door and I don’t have to deal with it.

Josh:                I’ll give you another thing, which I think is a main reason people don’t take responsibility for mistakes, I think it’s the word fear.

Meshell:          Oh, yeah.

Josh:                And I think that most people – especially in the business setting. Outside of business, mistakes are not seen as as deadly. But people who make mistakes in a business, at least in my experience, are scared of being fired.

Meshell:          Ah, I see what you’re saying. Yes. So you’re talking about an employee, for example. Yes.

Josh:                Yes. An employee. The truth is I see this in a lot of businesses. I see the business owner makes mistakes all the time and their mistakes are okay but none of their employees are allowed to make mistakes.

Meshell:          Right.

Josh:                And when they do, they pay for that. And sometimes, they pay for that with their jobs. And many times, those fears are actually irrational fears because nobody gets fired from the company for making mistakes even though everybody thinks they do.

Meshell:          Exactly. It’s interesting. I just had been going through the process of working with freelancers. And one of the things that I give my freelancers is the freedom to make mistakes because nothing great and amazing was ever created without a mistake. And the way I help them embrace making mistakes is to tell them, “When you ask more questions before you go do the task, that’s called preparation. When you ask a lot of questions after, that’s when mistakes come and that’s what most people fear.”

So yes, you’re absolutely correct. What I found, since I’ve implemented that process of helping to teach them how to be prepared, how to not just jump into the task and say, “I can, I can” when you actually can’t. What I have people do is explain back to me what I just told you. “Explain back to me the result you think it is that I want.” And what I find is, many people are not even on the mark but they’re so willing, they don’t want to be found unknowing or ignorant, so to speak, or uneducated, or uninformed that they just say “I can” and then they get stuck.

Josh:                Right, right. Or they’ll say “I’ll try.

Meshell:          Yes. Well, there is– and I say, “There is no try.”

Josh:                Right, there is no try. It’s either you are successful or you successfully fail.

Meshell:          Exactly. Exactly.

Josh:                One of those two things is going to happen but trying is– you know, that’s sort of like saying, “I’m not even going to even make an attempt and put up with a mistake in the first place.”

Meshell:          Exactly.

Josh:                So let’s talk a little bit about trust. Where does trust and mistakes fit in together?

Meshell:          Well, trust and mistakes – are you’re talking about a relationship between two people? Or are you talking about a relationship with yourself? How are you looking at that?

Josh:                I would say between two people.

Meshell:          Trust and mistakes comes about when a person has established an ability to show that although it’s not done the way I want it done. It’s still done to satisfaction or even better than I anticipated. So that can actually be construed as a mistake. I didn’t do it exactly the way you wanted or I can show you that I’ve exhausted many efforts to create the result you desire and I just hit a roadblock or a barrier so I’m coming back to you, telling you that I’m incapable and I need more guidance, or more assistance, or more tools, so to speak, or more resources. So that can be construed as a mistake. That builds trust when you’re willing to show someone that you’ve exhausted.

When  you lose trust is when you start telling people, “I can’t”. You try one or two things and then you go back and just say, “I can’t”. That actually just burns the bridge. I mean, you could set a torch or a flame, throw some dynamite. You’ve almost destroyed that because when you keep doing that, people no longer trust you with any activities. They don’t trust to leave you by yourself because they know the result when they come back. It’s not going to be that because you always can’t.

Josh:                Yes. One of my favorite people, in the world of management is a guy– well, he died several years ago, but he started doing his work in the ’30s, in the United States. He went to Japan in his 50’s and his name is W Edwards Deming. He would always say that “Mistakes are really systematic failures.”

Meshell:          Yes.

Josh:                And one of the things I learned – it took me many years to learn this, but instead of blaming the person, I like to ask, “Where did our systems breakdown? And what can we do to fix the system so it doesn’t happen again?”

Meshell:          Yes, the process. When you were talking about successful people who make mistakes, they actually take those learnings, as you said and mentioned earlier, that they’ve taken them and they’ve incorporated them and how to be better. How to do things better, more efficient, more effective in that system or that process.

Josh:                Right. And I have to ask you a question about goals. Where do you stand on goals? Do you think they’re good or used improperly?

Meshell:          I look at goals and when I work with my clients, I actually take their goals and tie them to something more purposeful. Goals have an end date. So when I set a goal of wanting to acquire or attain something, it’s not that it’s not, it’s just that I have an end date.

Whereas, when I create goals that are more purposeful, it helps me to become someone of value and then I just do it. So then, I just continue to build upon my character and the quality of who I am. And then I just become a successful person. And anything that’s handed to me will succeed. So there’s a difference.

Josh:                I like that a lot. I’m actually an anti-goal person [laughter]. You probably could tell that by the way I asked the question [laughter]. And the reason I’m anti-goal is two reasons. One is, I think goals are actually limiting for what you can accomplish. And the second is, when people become goal-focused, they’re just focusing on the end result and they forget to enjoy the journey.

Meshell:          Yes. Yes. And that’s why I said “more purposeful” – something that has more meaning and more depth. Become a person of value.

So my philosophy is, instead of do-have-be which most of society says, “If I do this, I’ll have that. Now, get to be this.” When they don’t actually get to be because when you’re doing the do-have, well, someone’s always going to have something more. They’re going to have something better. They’re going to be younger, taller, thinner, skinnier so you’re basically on a hamster wheel of have. You don’t actually arrive at be, so it’s just a fallacy.

Josh:                Yeah, it makes sense to me.

Meshell:          As soon as you achieve the goal or buy the thing, well, then it loses it’s sparkliness, right?

Josh:                Right.

Meshell:          As soon as you take the plastic off, it’s not new. Well, when you do the be-have-do, which is what I teach, you become someone. Well, anything you have is wonderful because you are already a wonderful person.

Josh:                Yeah, it makes sense to me, perfectly.

And the other thing I like about the way you do goals is that you actually bring “why” in the appropriate manner. I think that a lot of people say, “Well, you’ve got to start with why because there was a great book that had that title. It was a great book title, by the way. I think start with why happens to be wrong though because what’s you why until you know what the what is.

Meshell:          Exactly.

Josh:                And the goal is a what. It’s not a why.

Meshell:          Yes.

Josh:                So if your goal is X, well why is this important for you? And then you can get to that root cause. You know, there’s a thing in quality control called root cause analysis.

Meshell:          Yes.

Josh:                And why’s are actually root cause analysis. When you get right down to a why, that’s going to actually move you, which brings you to your thing on values. And I am this crazy guy who believes that the only great businesses are values-led businesses.

Meshell:          We are sympatico right now.

Josh:                You know, you say values – know your why, which is absolutely true. Which is, if you’re  clear about what your values are and you’ve put defining statements around each of your values, and you know whether they’re core values, or aspirational values, or permission-to-play values, or accidental values – which I stole from Patrick Lencioni [laughter]. I steal freely [laughter].

Meshell:          As we all do.

Josh:                Yes. Well, that’s brilliant stuff, I think.

And when you start thinking about it, they’ll say, “Okay, if it’s a core value, that’s great. I don’t need to explain that but if it’s an aspirational value, I better be clear to the people I’m working with that this is an aspirational value and I intend to do this, this, this and this to make it a core value, and why is that important.”

Meshell:          Exactly.

Josh:                What would you add to what I just said? Because I just went on a soliloquy [laughter].

Meshell:          Well, no. I agree with the values.

One of the things that I found that when you have values or a belief system and who you will become, just looking at that legacy, one of the things I find most amazing is that we’ve all been given one life. And how you live that life is your legacy because what you do for yourself you take with you. What you do for others and how you impact others is what you leave behind. And that’s the value of who you are.

And I always tell people, “Value is not a place you visit.” You find, most of the world is either trying to go somewhere to get something. Constantly, they think they’re going to get something, especially business people. “I’m going to go here and I have a handful of business cards and I’m going to get a lead. I’m going to get a client. I’m going to– I’m getting. I’m getting. I’m going to get something.”

And what I tell people is, “Value is not a place you arrive, it’s something that you do. You are the value.” So when you show up in value looking to be of service, to leave people better off for having met you, that’s when the opportunities will start being handed to you. That’s when you will experience more people wanting to get to know you and know more about what you do. Instead of you chasing them down, they actually will pause and listen.

Josh:                So, do you get things or do you earn things?

Meshell:          It’s an exchange of value. It’s earning.

Josh:                Yeah, so I would agree with that. I think that somebody going and saying “I’m going to get a client.” They’re never going to get a client. If you go out with the attitude, “I’m going to earn the client” then you often have more clients than you know what to do with.

Meshell:          Exactly. Exactly. Zig Ziglar said, if you help enough people get what they want, you will, in return.

And we have been led down this road – and that’s where you said, “The companies with the values.” One of the courses that I teach when I’m working with HR departments, that segue of how to incorporate values and how you hire and communicate with the different levels of management, I love to reference a company like Tiffany’s because, as I said, when they look at who they hire, when they look at the vendors that they work with, when they looking at the suppliers of their products – those companies must hold the same level of values as Tiffany’s brand. Otherwise, Tiffany would not be able to produce the quality and the majesty of what they create year, after year, after year. They cannot shortcut anything – ever.

Josh:                That certainly makes sense. I mean, literally, all the great companies I do business with or I either actually do business with or a customer of tend to be values-led.

Meshell:          Yes.

Josh:                You know, anybody who says, “Our job is to make money” , I think, is kidding themselves because making money is always a result. It should never be a purpose, in my opinion.

Meshell:          Yes.

Josh:                We just have a couple of minutes left in the podcast today, Meshell, so let’s talk about the opportunity for a second – creating your own opportunities. How would you do that and what do you mean by that? What do you mean create my own opportunities?

Meshell:          Well, it goes back to what we were just talking about – being a person of value. So one of the things that there is so much unknown, unseen and uncertainty in the world that when you are a person of unwavering and uncompromising in who you are, everywhere you show up, you are the same person. This is what I call the rare jewel because so many people flounder and fluctuate based on external circumstances. They’re happy if everything’s going well. They’re upset if things aren’t. And you see them all the time. They capitulate between external circumstances, situations and people.

When you become a person of value and you value who you are and that’s what you show up and how you show up in the world, people are drawn to that because that’s a strength. That’s a strength that’s rarely seen. And it leads to you building a reputation of being whatever that person who you decided to be so much so that you become known for it and you will build a fan base.

And I always say, when you give a little extra – well, what’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary? It’s just a little extra, right? So if you consistently do this in your interactions, when you meet people, wherever you are, all day long because you don’t know where opportunity begins and you don’t know where it ends.

I have had opportunities to speak at women’s group just because I complimented someone in line at Walmart. I love that story. The woman was so enamored. I was just like, Well, you are just really too looking too good to be in line at Walmart, honey. And she was. She was so fabulous. She was just well-manicured and put together. And we just started laughing and talking. And she thanked me for the compliment. She was actually not feeling that great about herself that day. And that compliment just boosted her for where she was headed to. And she was nervous about something and asked me what I did for a living. And I told her I was a speaker. And she was like, “Would you like to speak?” And we followed up and I spoke.

Josh:                Great.

Meshell:          And that happens to me quite often. But it is the desire to go and give the value of who I am and create my own opportunity – connections, of people knowing what I do, vision – someone says vision board. If my clients are in the room, the will go, “You have to speak to Meshell” because of the value I give in my workshops and my courses and training.

So, again, like you said, companies of value, they create and leave their clients better off for having worked with them. That turns into what I call the raving fans who create your repeat business, your referrals and your recommendations.

Josh:                Well, that’s a great statement. And that’s a great way to end this podcast [laughter].

So, Meshell– you didn’t know you did that well, did you?

Meshell:          [laughter] No.

Josh:                [laughter] I’m going to bet there’s people listening to us today who would like to find you. And if they wanted to, how would they go about doing that?

Meshell:          The simplest form is to just go to my website. You go to MeshellBaker that’s When you land on the homepage, I have a free downloadable. It’s how to create your vision board. It’s just a process of you making an appointment with yourself to decide to be and have something better in life. You’re just taking time to imagine and create something greater and better. And also, if you go to the contact me page or tab, you can send me an email or schedule a  discovery session which is complimentary or free 45 minutes and see if we’re a fit.

Josh:                That’s great.

Meshell:          I always tell people, “Only work with the amazing. So if you want amazing, I’m your     girl. If you’re looking for quick, fast and easy , you know, I’m not so much.”

Josh:                Okay. Well, that’s great.

Meshell:          It will be amazing though.

Josh:                That’s great.

And I also have an offer for you. I have a free one-hour audio CD course. It’s called Success to Sustainability: The Five Things You Need to be Doing to Create a Personally and Economically Sustainable Business. It’s really easy to get. You can’t do this if you’re driving but when you stop driving, you take out your cellphone and you text the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222. That’s the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222. You click on the link. You give me your name and your physical mailing address and we mail you the CD. Now, if you happen to have one of those fancy new cars that doesn’t have a CD player in it, and you threw all your CD players out from you home, then just email me at and I’ll send you the audio file.

This is Josh Patrick. You’ve been at the Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for spending some time with us today. I hope to see you back here really soon.

Narrator:        You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at, or you can send Josh an e-mail at

Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.


Topics: success, advice, mistakes, sustainable business podcast, Sustainable Business, Uncategorized, goals, purpose, business

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