If you asked every human being walking on Earth today, then I guarantee you a lot of them would admit that they have made a mistake at least once in their lives.
Even those who are narcissistic to the bone would have to dig deep and admit, honestly, that they’ve made just one error.
Consider the man or woman who has survived a lot in their life and surpassed what most people call their “breaking point.” They don’t have one. Why? Because they have moved through failure after failure, never giving up and are always willing to push forward.
Failure is the opposite side of success. In the weigh scale of my own life, I definitely see more failure than success.
Yet I also can reverse my view and see how success has raised the scale even higher than failure.
Walking along the sides of interstate roads to get to work, losing homes after leaving unfulfilling jobs and overworking at underpaying jobs, seeing cars repossessed or turning them back in due to lack of payments, losing relationships because of my own selfish wants and needs – and it goes on and on. On the other side, I’ve had work published around the world, advocate for a large group of people around the world, have an awesome woman in my life, live – for now – in the great borderlands of El Paso, and can see how my failures have really been pathways to success.
In light of all that, here are three ways to turn your failures into successes:
Learn from your mistakes. You know that mistakes are just more opportunities to grow. They stink, hurt and really are painful. Instead of dwelling on those errors of thought, word, and deed that were done 10 or 15 years ago, why not look for the lessons to learn? It’s not always going to be pretty. You have overcome some pretty high levels of mistakes, so take a little bit and truly discern what caused those mistakes in business and life to happen. Some people call it taking a personal inventory, honestly weighing both the pluses and minuses of any situation. When you learn something new from any disaster you made, then that is a success.
Be willing to accept responsibility. It’s pretty easy to say whatever happened was “his fault” or “her fault” or “the X-Y-Z’s fault” and that might be true. Most personal mistakes, though, are ones that you have made. Accepting responsibility is one way to get back into integrity. I’ll readily admit that I have dropped the ball on deliverables in business at times. I’m not happy about it and it upsets me, but there is literally no one else to point a finger at other than the man in the mirror. Same goes for you, friend. One caveat: A lot of people grow up with an unhealthy developed sense of responsibility. They carry it over into adulthood and take full responsibility for every person’s mistakes. Hey, if it is someone else’s error then let them handle the responsibility part. Just take responsibility for your part only. You don’t have to carry the world on your shoulders all the time.
Forgive yourself right now. Don’t laugh at this one. People go around in life with their head down, looking at the world through gloomy eyes and feeling that inner sense of shame. Remember this definition about shame that I’m paraphrasing from vulnerability expert Brene Brown. Shame’s core message within you is “I am bad” while guilt’s core message is “I feel bad.” This kicks up when looking at a mistake. You can turn it into a success by simply knowing that the mistake you made was not the end of everything. You are not a bad person for the mistake (unless it’s involving abuse of any type – physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional). Understand the power of forgiveness, especially toward yourself. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” is line accredited to Jesus of Nazareth’s prayer to the Christian God. Forgiveness is a powerful act of your heart and soul. Readily, I’ll admit there are some things – as mentioned earlier – that are impossible to fully forgive. The piece to remember here, though, for you and turning it all into a success is that you can forgive yourself. You forgive you, boo.
Is this all going to happen in a quick minute? Are you going to be able to fold your arms across your chest, blink your eyes like Jeannie in “I Dream of Jeannie” and have it all be better? No. Yet you can make a start by taking these three suggestions to your heart. Just see if they work for you. Know that you always can start over again and, yes, rise from your own ashes into a glorious new beginning.
Your learning curve keeps on going, and so does your journey.