You Made a Mistake… Now What?

6 Steps To Turn A Mistake into a Lesson

I don’t know about you, but I have made a few mistakes in life.  I remember one of the things my Dad told me as a kid, “Kay, a mistake is okay as long as you turn it into a lesson”.  First, yes “Kay” is the nickname he uses for me, and two, his point was not missing the education you can get out of any one of the mistakes you’re bound to make.

For women this can be uniquely difficult.  We don’t like to let others down.

 Depending upon the nature of the mistake, you may have feelings of frustration, disappointment, confusion, and anger.  Those are normal feelings and are frequently followed by feelings of embarrassment, humility, and blame. 

After you rotate through these emotions, it will be time to put your “big girl” panties on, look in the mirror and say, “What is the lesson”? 

I believe there are 6 things you can do to turn a mistake into a lesson:

1.       Acknowledge the Mistake:  Huge!  Major!  In life, failure is unavoidable. As soon as I matured into this fact was the very moment I understood the value of a mistake and got my power.  The power that comes with accepting mistakes is because you now know you are human and that you can improve.  The ability to improve is extremely powerful because it means that "I control who or what I can be".  Me. Power. Mine.

2.       Own the Mistake:  Girl you have got to own your mistakes.  Blaming others will not help you.  It only serves to make you a victim - a victim to an external force who is really to blame for the mistake.  By blaming others, you are basically saying, “I am not at fault” and, most significantly, you are handing control over to someone outside of yourself.

3.       Don’t Be Defined By Your Mistake:  So now you have acknowledged and owned your mistake - is that mistake you?  I would argue not.  I have made plenty of mistakes in life.  However, I have learned that my mistakes are not me.  I may be deeply disappointed and there could be collateral damage, but yet still my mistakes are not me.  They cannot be, because if they were, I could not improve.  The fact is – I have improved.

4.       Look for the Lesson:  The lesson is the "silver lining" of every mistake.  Look for it.  You can find redemption in the change promised in the lesson.  Ask “What would have made a difference?” or “What could I have done better?”

5.       Change Your BehaviorInsanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein.  Wise words.  In order to benefit from the lesson of the mistake you have to change your behavior, so that you don’t repeat the behavior that lead to the mistake.  Without this critical behavior modification, you will repeat the same mistake.  Lesson loss.

6.       Refocus and Move: Finally, look forward.  Don’t look at the past.  At this point you should have a path forward.  Do not second guess yourself.  Recovering from a mistake is like riding a bike – you have got to get back on.  Embrace a new path and focus.  Move.