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Mistakes are Learning Tools

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When we were kids growing up in school, we were groomed to believe that mistakes were bad. We were punished when we didn’t get answers correctly on quizzes and tests. And as we got to early adulthood, we had this idea burned in our brains that mistakes were evil and not acceptable. But I am here to tell you that what we were told is untrue. Mistakes are not evil; mistakes just mean that we are human. Mistakes are opportunities.

I know it is a cliché example but Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times before finally inventing the light bulb. Why didn’t he quit? Because he had a different mindset. He didn’t see his failures as failures. He saw them as 10,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.

When you have awareness to learn from your mistakes, you have the greatest key to success. Have Josh and I made mistakes over the years of creating our business? Absolutely we have. But we learned from those mistakes and the mistakes of others and have figured out how to improve our business and business practices.

When I get together with my fellow business women, I notice that we tend to hold on to our mistakes more than our male counterparts. Why? Because we have been made to believe that when we fail it reflects who we are as women, not our skills or effort. Even women who have been in business for years still find it hard to break out of a restricted mindset and learn how to accept failure.

It’s hard to find the silver lining and gain back motivation after a hard failure. There are feelings of embarrassment and judgement that are sometimes more difficult for women to get over because of their male counterparts. Psychologists have found that leaders are found to be more incompetent when they are in gender-incongruent work environments.

Anytime I face a difficult situation I have to remind myself that hard times will pass. Good comes with the bad. It might be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes, but keep telling yourself that you will come out on top. You will succeed despite the difficulties. The more you believe this and say this to yourself, the more your thoughts and feelings will become positive actions.

Force yourself to take a step back and ask, “What can I learn from this?”

If you can’t find the silver lining, I keep searching for it. The more you let your failures haunt you, the more you’ll hold yourself back. So, find some good in any situation.

Here are some great questions to ask yourself to help you reflect on your situations:

How did I make my mistake?

What did I learn from it?

How can I change so it doesn’t happen again?

Was there anything I did well? How can I do that again?

The last question I always leave for last. It’s a positive note to end on and I feel like positive things should always be acknowledged.

If there is anything you should take away from this, it’s this - don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes allow us to learn and grow in ways that positive experiences can’t. And being able to learn from them increases your abilities so when the next mistake is made, you can deal with it in a way that doesn’t disrupt your business, or get in the way of your emotional well-being.

Original publish date: November 04, 2019

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