Have you ever made a mistake?

An, “OMG I can’t believe I did that !”– kind of mistake?

A “What was I thinking!”– kind of mistake?

Have you ever reacted poorly to a person or situation or circumstance?

Do you beat yourself up afterwards? Feel guilty? Feel bad or sad or angry? How would you like to have a different experience?

I’ve made plenty of mistakesHCK Mistake!  In my quest to become my own best friend though,  I’ve come to think about mistakes a bit differently. Here is my top 5 list on how you can think about them differently too.

1.  A mistake is merely a choice that doesn’t serve us well.  In listening to a recording of a webinar one day, I heard this and it stuck with me! I loved it because the use of the word choice demonstrates that you have options. You can make another choice and have a different outcome.

2.  There is no failure, only feedback. One of the basic presuppositions of my training in NLP is that there is only feedback. Meaning that if what you get as feedback as a result of a decision or action is not what you want, then incorporate that feedback or lesson and do it differently the next time. Say for instance, you are taking your kids to school. You’ve cut it close on timing and all of the sudden you come upon a construction detour! You know you won’t make it on time; the kids are cranky because they’ll be late and this isn’t really the way you wanted to start your day. If you choose another route the next day, then congratulations you’ve incorporated the feedback! What opportunities to learn do you have from less than favorable events?

3.  A mistake indicates movement. You have to take action in achieving your goals and dreams. If you’ve made a mistake then you’re moving in a direction. So well done! To move in the direction that you want, however, get the lesson and use it!

4.  Learn the lesson before the 2×4! Lessons by nature have to get bigger each time you repeat them. If you didn’t get it the first time around it must not have been important enough for you to make change so it will be bigger the next time and bigger the next time yet. Finally, here comes the BIG, blinged out 2×4 to smack you right between the eyes! It’s much easier when we can listen to the subtle messages our gut is trying to send us than to be laid low by the 2×4. I’ve had both experiences but sometimes the 2×4 is the only thing that will get our attention.

5.  Ditch the (negative) emotion. When we make a mistake, often times we come down hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up. We dwell on it. We wake up in the middle of the night and obsess about it. We wake up in the morning after finally having fallen asleep and forgotten our huge and tragic misdeed – only to remember seconds after opening our eyes and its downhill again. Whatever anger, sadness, fear or guilt we may harbor as a result of our mistake only affects ourselves and has no impact on the situation at hand. The mistake has been made; there is no going back in time so the negative emotion only serves to make us feel worse! Ditch the emotion, learn your lesson, incorporate the feedback and take different action the next time. When you can approach something without emotion it provides clarity to the situation and allows you to take different action.

I’d love to hear from you about different ways you deal with mistakes.  Leave a comment below.

Here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve! Have a great day!