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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You are not Your Mistakes: 3 Steps to Learn from Poor Decisions and Mistakes

She Was All Dressed Up Like a Rainbow Trout, 
Swimming Upstream in the World
'Please, Please, I've lost my way, 
The current is too strong.'
Gordon Lightfoot

'Happy Mistakes' On the Road to Destruction 

Mistakes. We've all made them. Wrong turns. We've all taken them.

Yes, I'm talking to you.

Admit it--there's nothing like coming face-to-face with an ugly, icky, scary result of a decision you made for bringing your travel down that road of destruction to a screeching halt.

While you may find it difficult to get behind the idea of 'Happy Mistakes' for some of your 'disasters', perhaps you can accept all mistakes are useful for putting you back on the path to a more useful, and meaningful life as you seek to shed the skin of negativity and repel the repugnant alternative you discovered on your 'road to destruction'. 

Finding Your Way Back Home
'Experience is the toughest teacher because she gives the test first, and then the lesson.' Unknown

Sometimes it takes the stark reality of learning what you don't want for you to discover what you do want. After you've spent as much time as you need to contemplate your disastrous decisions, hit the refresh button and start over.  

While it's good to own your mistakes it's also good to learn from them then let them go. In any moment of crisis you're on the brink of destruction at the very moment you're also on the brink of a breakthrough. The trick is to take a step beyond the moment of making a poor decision or mistake to find the lesson that splits your life wide open in a positive direction. 

When you're ready to start fresh: Let go of guilt. Let go denigrating yourself. Let go beating yourself up. Get busy using your mistakes and poor decisions as learning lessons to guide your next steps. 

3 Steps to Turn Your Mistakes into Learning Experiences 

1. Make a list of what you've learned YOU DON'T WANT in your life. For example:

I don't want to:

  • Work with people I don't like.
  • Be unfaithful in my relationship.
  • Hurt the people I love.
  • Work in this industry anymore.
  • Be abused at work or home.
  • Drink or do drugs.
  • Be scrapping by.
  • Be with people who treat me poorly.
  • Be with people who bring out the worst in me.
  • Feel unworthy.
  • Be unethical.
  • Stay in this job.
  • Be bored.
  • Drift through life.

2. Convert your 'I don't want' list into an 'I WANT TO' list. For example:

I want to:
  • Work with people I like.
  • Be in a committed relationship.
  • Be respectful and caring of my loved ones.
  • Seek a new satisfying career.
  • Seek healthy relationships.
  • Seek healthy workplace.
  • Fully engage in life and work.

3. Stay open to--and say yes to--activities you know will lead you on a journey towards the life you want. 

When opportunity comes knocking, answer the call. 

Use your 'I WANT' list to guide you in what you say Yes to.
  • Has someone offered to counsel and guide you? Say Yes and Thank You.
  • Has someone offered to introduce you to people at work? Say Yes and go for meet and greet.
  • Has someone offered to go out for coffee and a chat? Say Yes and Go.
  • Has a new career option caught your eye? Step in and stay open to the possibilities.
  • Has your loved one offer to 'stop and start over'? Say Yes and step into exploring what a healthy relationship means.

Keep looking for ways to open doors to a satisfying future and step through.

'You are not the mistakes you have made; you are the lessons you have learned.'  
Chris Cook

'What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.' Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Susan J Meyerott loves helping people become more fully themselves, particularly those working through anxiety, life and career transitions, relationships, and self-esteem issues. She provides a nonjudgmental, growth-oriented environment for you to become the person you’re meant to be—while appreciating the richness of who you already are. Learn more at Lightarted Living Blog


moey said...

Thx for the reminder, always so many good clues in mistakes. Abraham calls it "contrast".
Very clarifying for the alley we're headed up!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Moey! The alley we're headed up is called Breakthrough Boulevard!