I Can’t Believe I Just Did That!

Yesterday, I launched the re-design of my new blog. I was also attending the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference in New York. I was on a CEO panel discussion and also spoke on the topic of Blogging as a Tool for Change. Needless to say, it was a crazy-busy day.

a man starring in disbelief at his computer

In between appointments, I received a direct message via Twitter that John Saddington, my web developer, needed my Google password, so that he could make some adjustments to my FeedBurner account. As you may know, your login information for Google is used across all (or at least most) of their applications, including Gmail, which I use for my personal email.I quickly responded to John with my password via Twitter. I intended to direct message him (commonly known as DMing), so that only he could see it. But, in my haste, I replied to him. This meant that everyone who is following both of us, saw my Google password. Oh. My. Gosh.

Almost immediately, I got a flood of Tweets from my friends, saying “Do you realize that you just Twittered your Google password to the world?” I did what any reasonable person would do. I panicked.

At that very moment, I was supposed to go to lunch with two of my colleagues from ECPA. They were literally standing beside me. But I said, “Look, guys, I have an emergency. I’m sorry.”

I quickly explained what had happened and then proceeded to figure out how to change my Google password. It was more difficult than I thought. It took me about two minutes—but it seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

The bottom line: being a CEO or a leader doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes or do stupid things. (If you only knew!) This was probably the dumbest thing I have done in a while, but it probably won’t be the last. As my dear deceased friend, Bill Hall, used to say, “Dodo occurs.”

Question: What was the dumbest thing you have done this week? C’mon, fess up. Confession is good for your soul.
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  • http://jasondtaylor.wordpress.com Jason Taylor

    Michael, all in all, that’s pretty funny. Can I use this as an anecdote? Great story – thanks for sharing it.

  • http://lisaboyd.com Lisa Boyd

    I saw it when it came through and I felt so bad for you. I did something similar myself — I emailed what I thought was one person and it ended up going to a Basecamp project where the whole company could see. Glad I didn’t embarrass myself too much. I just got back from a wonderful blogging conference in Nashville this past weekend, and I still don’t think my brain is functioning normally.

    So, give yourself a break — especially since you’re at a conference. Those things tend to drain all brain power! Oh yeah, and where are your wonderful tweets about the conference? I miss them!

  • http://pursuingyahweh.typepad.com Bryan Patrick (PursuingYahweh)

    I imagined that this was the case yesterday. My heart sank for you when I saw this come through. It’s good to hear you go it under control quickly.

    Dumbest thing for me this week was loading the 3 preschoolers in the van, and forgetting to buckle the middle child. Fortunately, she yelled “Mommy, wait, I’m not buckled” before I drove away. Whew!

  • http://synapticlight.com/ Phillip Gibb

    Making a foofy slide with old telephone wire as a kid and being the one to try it first. ha ha ha

  • http://theestherproject.wordpress.com Lex

    I decided that a 15-year-old who just (the day before) got her driver’s permit was probably okay to start learning how to drive stick. She did great until she tried to park, hit the gas instead of the brake (three pedals is so confusing) and launched my car over the curb and into the mud/grass. At least we got a laugh … well, I did.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    @Jason, Absolutely. Feel free.

  • http://cleothecool.posterous.com Cleo

    The dumbest thing I’ve done this week was also on Twitter. I think it was Monday night. There was a long, low-speed pursuit of a Bentley by the LAPD. I was alerted to this via TwitScoop, so I tuned in. In trying to say the driver of that Bentley was not someone FAMOUS, the KABC anchor said, “He is not someone of SIGNIFICANCE.” He had been seen pointing a hand gun to his head. In an attempt to be cute and witty (not to mention critical of a professional speaker who would say that ANYONE is not significant) I tweeted her statement and followed with, “No wonder he’s suicidal.” An hour later he shot and killed himself. I felt *AWEFUL*.

  • http://www.freemoneyfinance.com FMF

    And yet another reason not to be on Twitter…


  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    @FMF, you’re not saying that you can avoid doing dumb things by not being on Twitter, are you? I can be dumb on any platform!

  • http://www.publishedauthors.net/robsargeant Rob Sargeant

    I took my son and eight of his friends out to a sushi restaurant to celebrate his 16th birthday Sunday evening. For most of them it was their first time going into a restaurant like this, eating raw fish, using chop sticks. I thought they would be okay with it, but one of them became sick to his stomach. Now I feel bad. Maybe I should’ve stuck with pizza and burgers.

  • Jennifer


    It’s actually refreshing to hear that our leaders make the same kinds of silly mistakes the rest of us do.
    My dumb thing for the week happened just this afternoon. After a meeting ran late, I dashed out the door to pick up my daughter and get her to the Orthodontist. During the 30 minute drive, I was fully engaged in my own thoughts and didn’t think to chit-chat with her until we got to the Dr.’s office. Imagine my shock when I looked back and realized I’d forgotten to stop and pick her up!
    The bright side is that our goofs are always a welcome laugh for everyone else :)

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    @Jennifer, that is a great story. I had a moment of panic last week. I was running late to the airport and scrambling around the house looking for my car keys. I finally asked Gail, “Honey, have you seen my keys?” She replied, “You mean the ones you are holding in your left hand?”

  • http://www.thischangesnothing.com Michael Covington

    Well Mike, we both made mistakes on Twitter this week! I still cannot believe people believed my joke at TOC about people walking out of the meeting. Reminds me of the old “telephone” game – the rumor mill 2.0 – funny!

  • http://willowsmarsh.com Karen Masullo

    My biggest mistake this week was assuming that when my husband said he knew how to fix something, he actually knew how to fix it.

    This after 30 years of knowing the man. The plumber was very understanding.

    (btw, The new blog looks great Michael.)

  • http://evaulian-thebestoftheworst.blogspot.com/ Eva Ulian

    When I read the post with your password, it never dawned on me that you had done anything wrong- I glided over the post & thought nothing of it, just something technical. After all we don’t question people in authority as we are convinced they know what they are doing- That, I think is the dummiest thing I’ve done this week. By the way, nice clean design here…. hum…

  • http://robert.epictales.org Robert Treskillard

    The dumbest thing I did this week:

    My 14 year old son and I like to wrestle. The problem is that he’s now almost as tall as me, and nearly as strong.

    So he’s just standing there waiting for me to make a move. I try to come in fast … and jamb my thumb on his arm, spraining it badly. He didn’t do a thing, didn’t even flinch a muscle and there I am laying on the floor cradling my hand and biting my lip.

    Yup. The old man’s getting old !

    BTW – I really like the new blog. I visit daily and I just have to get used to looking in the sidebar to make sure I don’t miss any of your posts.

  • http://loyolapress.com Terry Locke

    It’s refreshing to have a new President in Obama who is willing to admit when he makes a mistake. You’re right. We all do it and everyone knows it so we might as well “fess up.

  • http://passionsforthesoul.typepad.com/vicki Vicki Small

    Michael, this isn’t the most recent dumb thing I’ve done, but you reminded me of a time, years ago, when I was working for a lawyer. We were the only two people in a small office, so there weren’t many places I could have laid my glasses, but I couldn’t find them. I finally stepped back into his office and asked, “Are my glasses, by any chance, on top of my head?? I just can’t find them!”

    Looking a little dazed, he slowly said, “You mean the ones that are on your face, where you normally wear them?”

    By this time in my life, my husband and I often comment that I need a keeper!

  • http://www.freemoneyfinance.com FMF


    No, Mike, I’m just yanking your chain because I know how much you like Twitter. I knew I could get a comment back from you on that one! :-)

  • http://www.jackswebpage.net Jack Collins

    It is nice to know that I’m in good company. Here’s a more minor, yet humorous oops I did this week:

    At a ministry leadership meeting on Sunday, we had lunch before getting started. So I have my plate on the host’s kitchen island and realize I don’t have a fork. I asked “Where do you keep your forks?” He told me “They are under your plate there.” at which point I picked my plate up off the counter thinking I had set it down on the silverware. Alas, the forks were the DRAWER that was located directly under my plate. Which my host graciously pointed out while trying not to laugh too hard. I guess that what 15 years writing software does to me!

    Thanks for sharing your moment with us, good post! jack

  • http://www.RumorsOfGlory.net/blog Lucille

    You’re one of my favorite people because you are so transparent. Thank you for that gift.

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  • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary

    I missed this post when it was originally published, but you linked to it today. And I just had to laugh!

    A couple weeks ago, I meant to forward an e-newsletter to a colleague, complete with a joking comment. Instead, I replied to the original author, a pretty influential guy and the one about whom my comment was made.

    I just wanted to crawl underneath my desk and die – one, for being so dumb, and two, for being so rude!

    Thankfully, the person I sent it to was a good sport. And my colleague had quite the laugh at my expense!