Don’t Let Your Mistakes Undo You

We all make mistakes. Many of us own up to them. Some of us profit from them. And a few of us are even able to correct them. The key question here, is “What makes the difference?”


“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes,
smart enough to profit from them, and
strong enough to correct them.”

~ John C. Maxwell

It’s a given that you simply cannot make it through life without making mistakes. It would probably even be accurate to say that we can’t make it through a day without making mistakes. It happens. Not just for you or for me, but for all of us.

If you want to maximize the benefit from your mistakes (don’t we all?), here’s a good place to get started.

STEP 1: Spot it.

You’ve got to FIRST recognize that a mistake was made. You can’t own a mistake you didn’t know existed.

This is where you just have to trust your peers and tune into reality. With a little practice, you’ll be able to spot your mistakes within seconds. With a LOT of practice, you may even get to the point where you can stop that mistake just before you make it. A very Jedi move indeed.

But for now, let’s just recognize our mistake.

STEP 2: Own it.

Phew! This one can be tougher than it sounds. Why? Because we are built to get things right. Think about it. Ever since you started school as a wee one, you were rewarded for getting things right. You also got to witness the repercussions of getting things wrong (kids flunking out of class or having to take a grade over again).

It’s no wonder we are so reluctant to accept that we did something wrong. The difference now, though, is that there is no teacher. We get to “grade” ourselves. If we say it’s okay, it must be okay.

Sadly, this often results in an attitude of “I didn’t do anything wrong. It must be your problem.”

STEP 3: Profit from it.

Once you are big enough to accept your mistake, you get to progress to the next level – profiting from it. It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. To me, that is someone that doesn’t learn from their mistakes; however, there is a fine line here.

It’s also been said that “Success is falling down nine times and getting up 10”.  Of course, this seems to contradict the previous idiom, as you seem to be doing the same thing over and over. Yet, that’s where the fine line comes in. You need to make adjustments. You need to recognize what went wrong and tweak your formula for the next attempt.

Being a former professional actor and horseman (I used to joust and swordfight for a living), I have lost count of how many times I’ve been dumped from a horse. But I can assure you of two things: 1) I learned something from each fall; and 2) I got back on one more time than I got dumped.

That’s how we profit from our mistakes. We learn a little something.

STEP 4: Fix it.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all: How do we correct them?

Okay. You nailed step one (you saw a mistake was made). You handled step two (you admitted that you made the mistake). You sailed through step three (you learned a little something from it). Are you ready to handle the final step and correct it? A little tip here: if you’re not ready for step four, you are destined to repeat steps one through three indefinitely.

To be clear, I am not using the words  “correct” or “fix” in their  typical sense. I’m referring to life’s mistakes in which there is no going back and undoing things. It’s done. History. How can you apologize for getting into wrong relationships again and again? How can you make up for getting fired from jobs over and over? You can’t.

When I refer to “correcting” your mistake, I mean taking action to ensure that you never repeat it again. Did I say “never”? Because what I really meant to say was “NEVER”.

In order to do this, you’ve got to dig deep into your own mind and discover what keeps you repeating the same thing. What are your underlying beliefs and expectations that you keep fulfilling? Once you recognize those, you must set about to destroy them. You must absolutely annihilate your story that is holding you in this vicious circle.

I went through a phase of bad relationships in my life (if you can call 20 years a “phase”). Not that the day-to-day aspect was bad, just that they kept ending with the woman cheating on me. Yeah. That kind of bad.

It didn’t happen with every woman I dated, but enough of them that I created a very solid belief system around it. Women cheat. Pretty simple, really. I had enough evidence to support it, not just in my life but in what I was seeing in the world.

In hindsight, I realize now that it was simply what my eye was drawn to. Have you ever noticed when you got a new car, that all of a sudden you see that car everywhere?

But the scariest part was the subconscious piece. While my eye was being drawn to “see” instances of cheating women, my heart was being drawn to relationships with women that cheat. I was actually attracted to (and attracting to me) the very thing I wanted to avoid.

As a mountain biker, I learned very early on (after a few nice wipe-outs) that you should never look at the obstacle you want to avoid, but keep your eyes on the part of the path you want to follow. Imagine how difficult that would be (especially for an amateur like me) – you see a big tree root covering all but a few inches of the trail… my mind, and my eyes, are working in unison as I’m thinking “Holy $4it! I’m gonna crash into that stump!” It becomes extremely difficult (if not impossible) to avoid it at that point.

Mistakes can be our undoing...

Mistakes can be our undoing…

Well, I was doing the same thing in my love life. I was subconsciously bringing about the inevitable crash of another failed relationship.

Until I woke up, and caught on. I was the common denominator in all of these relationships. The problem had to lie within me. This was me recognizing my mistake.

Then I had to profit from it. What did I learn?

This part was huge! So much learning opened up for me once realization occurred. It was like a bright light being turned on in a very dark room.

I got to see how I was living in a world where things were happening “to” me, instead of “for” me.

That alone was pretty disgusting. Blech! Better yet, I got to see that I was the one who had set it up that way. No one else did.

Of course, with that new knowledge, I also realized that I had a choice in the matter. Did I want to keep repeating the same story over and over again like a broken record, or did I want to change my life and transform my relationships?

The answer to that one was easy, and it led me directly to my final step – correcting my mistake. Did I mention that this is easier said than done? If I didn’t, let me say so now. It is hard as hell!

We’ve all got years and years of stories and beliefs and evidence, all supporting one thing – keeping us exactly where we are. However… it is not only possible to dismantle that support system, but it can even be fun. It took me a while to figure out how to get rid of my own internal lies, but the pay-off was well worth it. I got to step out of the role of victim and into the role of creator. I took back the reins and started steering my life in the direction I wanted it to go.

I haven’t had a bad relationship since, and I’m currently married to the woman of my dreams. I know for a fact that she wouldn’t be in my life today, had I not gotten rid of my story about women.

What’s your story? Do you have relationship challenges, or do you experience trouble with finances? Are you struggling to advance in your career, or do you suffer from addictive habits? I’d love to hear your story. If you want more insights about limiting beliefs and how to overcome them, please Sign Up for my newsletter. Thanks![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1414037619903{margin-bottom: -1px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_googleplus annotation=”inline”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1414037942463{margin-bottom: -1px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_pinterest][/vc_column][/vc_row]