How To Overcome Mistakes: Reframe Them As Life Lessons
Over the past few years, I’ve made quite a few mistakes. Because I want to come out on the other side happier and with a clearer sense of direction, I’m owning up to them. You should too. If the path to your desired goal is cluttered with chaos; tripping you up at every turn; you’re confronting detour after detour, then it might be time to own up to YOUR part of the madness.
Mistakes happen in life because we’re human.
Yup, despite the robot revolution our veins are still pumping warm blood. We’re human and growing and learning. Even Beyonce, Michelle Obama, and Oprah have encountered their fair share of bad decisions. No one is immune. It’s how you bounce back that counts.
A mistake can have massive, life-changing effects if you aren’t cognizant. A mistake between two job opportunities can throw the trajectory of your career completely off course. Say you were stuck choosing between two positions — one paid a higher annual salary and the other came with bigger bonuses and kickbacks. You later learn that the first job had zero room for growth and promotions were pretty much nonexistent. By conducting the proper research and negotiating properly, you might have known the second job moved people up pretty quickly. You move on and it’s a lesson learned.
We’re stuck in this guilt-ridden, fast-paced culture that can make us feel self-centered for taking our time with decisions that can have a tremendous impact on our happiness. We cave because we don’t want to be that girl or guy, and rush to the best choice that will keep everyone happy. Naturally, we’re the ones with the “L” tacked onto our foreheads in the long-run. Long story short: Take your time and screw anyone can’t respect it. Weigh all the options before you take that leap.
Now some mistakes are 100% worth it.
Taking a chance on a new relationship with someone who treats you with respect and care? Worth it. Moving to Paris for one year to fulfill that lifelong dream that you’ve been preparing for forever? Worth it. Opening up a $35,000 loan on a whim to decorate your bedroom? Ugh…well, that one depends on your debt to income ratio. The result of these positive experiences means you took a chance to try something different and there is no fault in that. This builds character, strength, and courage, or what I call the ammunition of what you’ll need to make it in life.
Starting a business that fails within a year is also a lesson learned. You walk away from the situation feeling more confident and with more knowledge than you had before. You’ve also done something that most people have only dreamt about. Go you! Use that experience as a springboard to fuel your next endeavor.
The key is to constantly document your moves and stay aware of your wants and needs. Never give up on yourself because we’re all making mistakes; it’s just that no one is posting them on social media.
So how do you reframe a mistake?
Step 1: Gather all the evidence and sit down with it.
If it’s a vacation you splurged on just two weeks after you promised to start budgeting (oops, all that extra money in your pocket must have burned a hole in your pocketbook), gather those receipts. If it’s coming to the close of an unhealthy relationship, have a heart-to-heart with yourself, so you can have peace. Try journaling with Solange (or your mellow music of choice) and just reflect. This is where the realization of how far you’ve strayed comes into play. Embrace your breakthrough.
Step 2: Take inventory.
You don’t want to leave anything buried in this part of the process. Keep it real with yourself. Pause and ask yourself these questions: Where did you mess up? What could you have done differently? How can you change this behavior?
Step 3: Make a plan to move forward.
Now that your last Kleenex is balled up on the floor, how can you start fresh? It’s time to motivate yourself to take action and do better. What steps can be taken to get you to the other side? Think about it and write it down.
Step 4: Love on yourself.
This is the most important step that people tend to forget. Failing to love on yourself can cause you to feel even more depressed. Tell yourself, “Yes, I [insert mistake], but it doesn’t take away from my value or my intelligence. I’m human and there will be more blips in the future. What’s important is that I dust myself off and get back out there.” Give yourself a mental fist bump/hug/kiss or whatever symbol of love and respect you choose. You got this.
How do you bounce back from mistakes? Let’s discuss. Before you go, scroll down for more life advice.