What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

For the past week, my house has been a construction zone — our A/C overflowed the drain pan and flooded our master bedroom closet, our fence gate fell off, we had our trees trimmed because they were knockining shingles off the roof, and worst of all, there’s apparently a leak in the plumbing under the slab that flooded our living room, ruined the carpet, and now most of the downstairs needs to be re-floored (we’re doing tile!).


Now some of this stuff is just normal wear and tear, or a fluke, but the leak really got me thinking…

Consider the fact that one sloppy soldering job connecting two pieces of pipe 12 years ago is now causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.  One case of someone not checking carefully enough on something that was going to be permantently buried under concrete.

What are the equivalents of that in your life and work?

Sure, a single typo probably isn’t going to cause thousands of dollars of damage, and even this isn’t the life-and-death matter of, say, working on the space shuttle or packing a parachute. But what is the worst-case scenario that could play out if you cut corners and do less than your very best work?  Even if the risk is very low, sometimes the consequences are so high that you simply have to take the time to do the job right.

So while I’m generally all for keeping a positive outlook and expecting the best, sometimes you really have to ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Have you had an experience in your business or personal life where one small mistake had huge consequences? Please share it in the comments.

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