Three things NIDA’s Terri Martin has learned from her mistakes

terri martin

“Sometimes, when you’re making these really big decisions, you’re not listening to your gut.”

There are three things that Terri Martin has learned from the mistakes she’s made throughout her career: Always listen to your gut. Don’t rush. Even if things aren’t great, look at what you can learn from it.

Martin is head of corporate at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, CEO and founder of The Business Bunch, and vice chair and non-executive director of ADHD Australia. Joining The Growth Distillery vodcast, she told host – News Corp Australia’s director of the Growth Intelligence Centre and independent think tank The Growth Distillery, Dan Krigstein – that “I go very fast, I’m really fast-paced.”

“My motto is to get shit done. That works sometimes, but when you’re making these really big decisions, you’re not listening to your gut, you’re moving too fast. Then you turn around and go, I knew this was going to happen, I should have slowed down a bit and listened to myself.”

Even in situations where the ultimate outcome was out of your control, Martin urges listeners to “understand what role you played.”

“If you have, for example, a really toxic boss, maybe you can’t change that because that’s who they are, but did you stay a bit long? Should you have maybe not taken that job? Were there signals that you should have seen? Always taking responsibility for what you can control and how you manage that, it’s really, really important,” she said.

The episode dives into Martin’s life, and occasionally goes into some very vulnerable territory. Reflecting on the episode and what it was like detailing the evolution of her life, Martin told Mediaweek, “I actually felt more comfortable than I thought I would.”

“This is at the heart of who I am – maybe I haven’t always been like this, maybe that’s the journey, and I’m a bit more mature now with a bit more experience under my belt. But I actually think that if I want to be a leader who expects this from my teams, I’ve got to lead by doing it myself.”

That vulnerability is something that Martin said she has learned throughout her life and career, and is something she said “connects mentors and mentees.”

“I remember when I was younger and I looked up at people, I was always petrified that they knew more than me, they never made mistakes, they were just these Oracles of amazingness. I now know that’s just not true,” she said. 

I don’t want anyone who’s coming up the ranks to look at me and think I’ve got it all together, because the reality is that I haven’t. I make mistakes, but it’s okay as long as we learn from them. That translates to that mentor and mentee relationship, modelling the behaviour that you really want the next generation of leaders to have.”

Ultimately, for those looking to move into mentorship positions, be it in the near future or further down the line, Martin’s advice is that you’ve got to want to do it for other people, not for yourself.

“If you’re doing it because you want to put it on your LinkedIn or you want to feel good about yourself for doing something good, unfortunately that’s not the right reason. You’ve got to genuinely want to believe in someone and know that they’re worthy of your time, it’s got to be selfless. Otherwise, forget about it.”

See Also: Why Salesforce’s Catherine Bowe makes ‘generous assumptions’

Top Image: Terri Martin

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