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When I was in my twenties I was doing Israeli cultural programs in the Midwest. Whenever I needed to send out a written communication to the community I would ask my manager to edit my messages. He was always very helpful and kind about it.

However, that wasn’t enough for me. I needed to know why things were written in a certain way, for example, when should I use in/at/on? All the different types of present: progressive, (not) simple, etc. If English is not your native language you know what I am talking about and you understand my confusion.

One day, after yet another linguistic mistake, my manager said: “I like your mistakes, and I don’t correct all of them when I edit your letters.” I was BEYOND mortified, why would he keep my mistakes in those letters intentionally?

Then he explained: “I am not looking for perfect English, I brought you all the way from Israel because our community deserves an authentic Israeli program. Your mistakes in English are a part of who you are and the reason that you’re here, so I want people to hear them.”

I was in shock. It had never occurred to me before that mistakes can be a good thing. This was the best gift that he could give me. His approval of my mistakes gave me confidence, courage, and a whole new perspective of what my job was about. In the two years that I worked in the Quad Cities I spoke in more than 200 places, gave interviews to newspapers, tv, and attended hundreds of social events.

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