You make mistakes don’t you? I do! And I am certain that I am not alone. So how can your mistakes lead to success?
When you become aware of a mistake it is common to feel like hiding, stowing away in guilt, shame, maybe even fear. The problem with that reaction is that it imprisons you to the mistake. It binds you in shackles of failure and at times worthlessness. And it gets you nowhere!
However, if you will look the mistake in the eyes and demand answers to some serious questions, you can ensure that those mistakes lead to success.
Let me ask you this. Can you recall a recent mistake; one that has not resulted in anything positive, productive, hopeful or in line with your goals? Maybe it was a bad business decision, poorly placed trust or a financial mishap. Maybe you cheated or lied. Maybe you went on a fast food binge. Or you trained incorrectly for your fitness goals. The “what” doesn’t really matter but what does is how you reacted and maybe even still are reacting. Did you react?
There is a difference between a reaction and a response. A very BIG difference. Human nature is hasty to react as an act of defense. You want to cover it up, hide it, ignore it, mourn it, wallow in it, forget it and change the subject. But what does any of that accomplish? Nothing! Well, except to cause stress and prevent you from escaping the prison in which you are locked.
But a response is a strategy, a way through it, a means to create change, an instrument of self -forgiveness and a weapon against defeat and surrender. It is the key to losing the shackles and unlocking the cell door. So how do you respond when you make a mistake?
Start by answering a few key questions:
Now that all is done, how do you feel about the mistake?
Are you angry, depressed, despondent, self- loathing, negative, lost, aimless, embarrassed, ashamed, guilty and condemned…? Or are you feeling hopeful, forgiving, apologetic, gracious, compassionate, motivated, inspired for change and eager to learn from the mistake?
What can you do to prevent it from happening again?
Can you change the circumstances? Remove the temptation? Redirect? Think about ways to prevent you from making the same mistake and being like the Hebrews circling around the same mountain for 40 years, imprisoned by doubt, fear, disbelief, surrender and contentedness just shy of your destiny.
If it were to recur, what strategy would you have in place to minimize the damage and more swiftly ensure that those mistakes lead to success?
Develop a plan. It takes strategy to prevent mistakes and even then they still occur. But when you have a plan in place the odds of a mistake reduce and they certainly empower you to move forward more swiftly and effectively when they do occur. A solid strategy should include some structured accountability, action steps, predetermined courses of action and a system to respond from the onset.
How big of a deal is it anyway?
How serious was or is the mistake? Is it more of a figment of your imagination or an emotional blow up? Or is it really a matter of serious concern? Clear your head and honestly evaluate the situation versus all the emotion of your reaction to it all.
Reactions only bring more reactions and those are emotionally driven. But responses are strategic, purposeful and effective!
You will make mistakes. I will make mistakes. It’s called humanity. But if we use them to learn and grow, our mistakes lead to success in every instance. All we need to do is respond rather than react.