“Mistakes are opportunities for learning,” says Dr. Jane Nelsen (author of Positive Discipline), and I agree. Along the same lines, my coaching mentor Tracy Tressider likes to say that “there is no failure, only feedback.”
What is meant by both of these statements about making mistakes?
Mistakes are generally judged as ‘bad’ and negative. You might interpret a mistake that you have made to mean that there is something wrong with you. You might think that because you have made a particular mistake (or many mistakes in your life, your relationships, or at work) it means that you are bad, no good, incapable and even hopeless.
What if you changed your perspective? What if you had another way of relating to your mistakes?
What if instead of thinking and believing that you making a mistake is something that is ‘bad’ and means that there is something wrong with you, you viewed that mistake as something positive; as something you can learn and grow from?
This is the purpose of ‘mistakes’, after all. Making a mistake gives you the opportunity to learn something new about yourself, about another person, or about something.
Making a mistake means that you took action; that you did something. Even if that something was not the right thing, you still made the effort and took that step. If you had not taken any action you may not have had the opportunity to learn anything new at all.
There was a time when you did not think twice about making any mistakes. You were so focused on your goal that everytime you stumbled or fell in your effort to do the right thing, you got up, wiped yourself off (perhaps asked for a hug and some comfort) and tried again.
When was this?
See that? You already know how to learn, grow and keep moving when you make a mistake. You were born with the tools you require to get up and (literally) take the steps to move forward. This is good news because as much as you may not like it, you will keep making mistakes in your life. There is no question about it. You are human, after all. The better question to ask yourself is, how will you handle it when you do make a mistake? What will you choose to do? How will you choose to move forward?
Here a few more questions to help you make choices about what you want to do the next time you make a mistake:
When you attach a feeling or believing of self-blame or negative judgment to you making a mistake, what are the results? How does that impact you, your work, and/or your relationships?
What if you viewed your mistakes as an opportunity for learning and growth? What if you accepted your mistake as simply a mistake and thought about what you can learn from making that mistake and what next steps you will take? How would things be different?
Please share your answers (or any questions or other comments you have) in the comments below, or email me at Jenny@unleashingu.com.
I look forward to hearing from you!
In support and admiration,
To learn more about how to grow from your ‘mistakes’ and create success for yourself in your life, career, and relationships, schedule your complimentary consultation.