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Moving on from a Mistake

Mistakes.  We all make them, and we all hear and say wonderful (and yes, sometimes pithy) quotes about the power of mistakes, how mistakes help you learn and grow and how without risk there would be no mistakes.

But still, mistakes are hard and navigating the aftermath of a mistake can be challenging. Life is filled with mistakes from a wrong turn to marrying the wrong person. Sometimes there is a lot to learn from a mistake and sometimes mistakes happen, and the biggest thing to learn is that we make mistakes and we need to let go.

Rather than getting stuck in blame or right vs. wrong here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:

Is there anything to learn here? Honestly look at the situation–name the things you learned (positive and negative).  Perhaps it is a failed relationship–what did you learn about the type of people you are compatible?  What did you learn about communication skills?  What did you learn about commitment?

If I could go back, what would I do differently? Or moving forward what will I will do differently? Sometimes it is helpful to look at what you could have done to prevent the situation (you know, hindsight being 20/20 and all) and sometimes it is helpful to recognize the only thing you could have done to prevent it is not to take the risk.  In either case, it is helpful to think about the future, and what you will do differently to avoid that mistake in the future.

Where was I not being honest with myself? Or where was I not listening to my gut? Or where was I listening to someone else’s opinion over mine (aka a SHOULD) rather than my voice? This happens a lot in relationships–frequently clients will tell me they KNEW something was wrong before they got married.  It happens a lot in career too; people will say they knew their boss wasn’t going to work out or they weren’t a good fit for the job but they took it anyway.  It is helpful to know where you weren’t honest so you can avoid that in the future.

What went well?  So often we get caught up in the mistake we forget to acknowledge what went well in the relationship, the job or the risk.  Not everything about a mistake is bad.  In every situation things go well–and it is important to acknowledge those things.

Yep, mistakes happen.  We all make them.  But as the saying goes–it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make it is the lessons you learn from them.  Try. Make a Mistake. Learn. Move Forward.

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