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The Shocking Truth About Making Mistakes

You know…making mistakeswe all have the experience of making mistakes…some of them big…some of them small…and you know what I learned? Making mistakes can be the quickest path to learning something…and yet we are all so afraid to do that…to make a mistake.

What I Know About Making Mistakes

Wow. I made a big mistake when I married for the first time at a very young and naïve 19 years old. As I stood outside the church building that we were to be married in, the thoughts that ran through my head were these:

  • “I’ve got to get out of here”
  • “I’m making a mistake”
  • “What will people think if I don’t go through with this?”

I wanted to turn around and leave…but I didn’t …because I was worried about:

  • What would other people think?
  • I would be breaking a promise to marry him (and that is what an engagement is…a promise)
  • These doubts and fears were just cold feet.

All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes. – Winston Churchill

Here is What I Learned to Survive Making Mistakes

  1. It doesn’t matter what other people think, it matters what you think. Other people will understand because everyone has made a mistake and if they don’t…oh well…next…
  2. Some promises are made to be broken. Not all promises should be made in the first place. We all make mistakes, some of us more than others. We think things will turn out one wayand the results are not what we thought they would be. That’s just life. I don’t have an accurate crystal ball…do you? : D
  3. You must listen to your gut feeling, your intuition. If you think that there is a problem, there is one…and the problem might not be the real problem…it might be a red herring because you aren’t ready to face the real reason. Still…pay attention…your unconscious mind is trying to get through to you. Be honest with yourself. Your gut intuition is that small voice that lets you know that something is not quite right, even if you can’t quite put your finger on it.

When You’ve Recognized that You are Making Mistakes or a Mistake

Do yourselfrecognize your mistake a favour and STOP making the mistake…because we all make mistakes…and you can learn from that mistake and move on…because there is something better waiting out there…isn’t there?

Forgive yourself for making mistakes. The only way to let it go and learn from it, is to forgive yourself first.

Realize that most of the mistakes you made or are making are not disasters. Be grateful because it could have been worse.

Recognize your mistake in the past…look at why it happened and keep the wisdom…let the mistake go…and look forward to a new future…because you can…

And the shocking truth is that once we have learned from that mistake…it can often have been the path of our greatest learning…really…

And when I married my second husband and the officiator was late to the wedding, my thought was “Oh my, we are going to have to have the party today and get married tomorrow if he doesn’t show up.”…and that my friends, is where the difference is…and he did eventually show up…that day. . .and we’ve been happily married for 16+ years…: D

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

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  • Edmund Lee September 6, 2012, 12:33 am

    Glad to hear your personal story about your experiences with dealing with mistakes. I’m glad that after that 1st experience, you are now happily married for 16+ years =)
    Edmund Lee recently posted..Part 3: How to Add Followers on TwitterMy Profile

    • Sherie September 6, 2012, 9:31 am

      I am glad, too, Edmund! Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Sara Nickleberry September 2, 2012, 8:37 pm

    It took me a long time to learn to forgive myself for making mistakes. I’m a much better person for it now. And probably healthier!

    • Sherie September 2, 2012, 8:58 pm

      I think it does makes us healthier, great point, Sara!

  • Liz Bigger September 1, 2012, 1:34 pm

    Wow it is soooo easy to get bogged down in mistakes…this is a great post to let go and move on! Thanks!!

    • Sherie September 1, 2012, 3:42 pm

      It really is, Liz! Thanks so much for taking the time to read the post and comment, appreciate it!

  • Susan Preston September 1, 2012, 11:11 am

    Great article, Sherie! I love this quote, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” – Winston Churchill. So very true! When I have made a mistake I always ask myself, “Did I do the very best at the time with the knowledge and experience at that time that I had?” The answer is YES!
    I also tell myself out of this my greatest good is coming to me. It makes all the difference in the world. Thanks for sharing your great knowledge and wisdom 🙂
    Susan Preston recently posted..Your Thoughts Become ThingsMy Profile

    • Sherie September 1, 2012, 3:44 pm

      Those are great questions to ask, Susan! It is amazing how telling yourself that the greatest good is coming to you can make all the difference, isn’t it? Thanks so much, dear!

  • Moira Hutchison September 1, 2012, 9:48 am

    I love this post Sherie! I have learned that it’s OK to make mistakes, it’s actually a powerful way to learn. One of the things I had to learn to overcome was hearing my father’s voice in my head saying “you’ve made your bed, now you’ll have to lie in it” and allowing that to keep me stuck in situations that no longer served me. I’m happy to say that even if I’ve “made my bed” I’m OK with re-making or re-doing it all if my intuition guides me that way ;).
    Moira Hutchison recently posted..Ancient Techniques to Calm Your MindMy Profile

    • Sherie September 1, 2012, 10:04 am

      Moira,yes! I had a similar voice in my head (although it was not my dad). Sometimes, we need to strip that bed and wash the sheets and remake it! LOL Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Suzanne Jones September 1, 2012, 8:29 am

    I love this Sherie. I am a huge believer in ‘gut’ instinct, intuition, and am learning more and more about forgiveness. We will be guided if we just trust ourselves and our instincts!
    Thanks for the great post!
    Suzanne Jones recently posted..Getting Out of Your Funk..By Interrupting Your MindMy Profile

    • Sherie September 1, 2012, 10:03 am

      Thanks so much, Suzanne! Our intuition is so important and we need to listen, don’t we?

  • Anita September 1, 2012, 6:20 am

    I think mistakes are blessings. Ones where we learn more and more about who we are and our limitations, talents and ability to thrive in this wonderful world of humanness. Great post Sherie!
    Anita recently posted..Women’s Leadership: Turn Your Mistakes Into OpportunitiesMy Profile

    • Sherie September 1, 2012, 10:03 am

      Love that point of view, Anita!

  • Steve Gamlin August 30, 2012, 2:52 pm

    I love to tell my speaking audiences that I am on stage because “I’ve made wayyyyy more mistakes than YOU have!”. They laugh…but it’s true. : )

    • Sherie August 30, 2012, 3:01 pm

      LOL, Steve! I know just what you mean!

  • Nisha August 30, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Great article, Sherrie – love it! My favorite line is to stop caring what other people think. They might judge you, but so what? They’ve made mistakes too.

    I’ve made both big and small mistakes in my life. Although some of the big ones have caused stress and anxiety, they have also been – just like you said – some of my biggest learning experiences.

    Mistakes happen. As long as we learn from them, they just become part of our personal story.
    Nisha recently posted..Healthy In A Hurry: Greek Chicken Artichoke PastaMy Profile

    • Sherie August 30, 2012, 2:35 pm

      What a beautiful way to put that, Nisha…”they just become part of our personal story”…absolutely! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Lisa Birnesser August 30, 2012, 10:19 am

    This is such a great article, Sherie! I love “Forgive yourself for making mistakes. The only way to let it go and learn from it, is to forgive yourself first.” This is the key for me to let go and move forward. Being aware and learning from past mistakes makes such a difference. thanks!
    Lisa Birnesser recently posted..How Resentment Blocks Your Peace and HappinessMy Profile

    • Sherie August 30, 2012, 10:26 am

      Forgiveness is such a big point, Lisa! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • denny hagel August 29, 2012, 5:53 pm

    This is such an important topic in my field as a parenting coach…when we learn in childhood to look at life as nothing is a ‘mistake’ only an opportunity to learn and grow we live our lives with an amazing freedom…and only then will fear have no place in our lives! Great article!
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    • Sherie August 29, 2012, 6:22 pm

      Denny, if only more parents taught their kids that there are just learning opportunities….thanks so much for your comment, dear!

  • terressa August 29, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Thank you for your post. I needed it today. I have been going through many changes in my life and they are incredibly difficult. The only thing that keeps me movning forward is knowing that despite everyone elses opinion I am doing what is right for me. Beleive me, everyone on the outside has an opinion but until they walk in your shoes they really can’t say what is best for you. Today has been a rough day and reading your article made me feel so much better . Thank you .

    • Sherie August 29, 2012, 6:24 pm

      Terressa, I am sending you big virtual hugs and thinking of you, today. You have been going through a rough time and you need to remember that your opinion is the one that counts. If only everyone could be more tolerant and “walk a mile” in someone else’s shoes…

  • Eva Blaskovic August 29, 2012, 10:59 am

    Great article, Sherie. I love the structure–the way you listed the factors under What I Know About Making Mistakes and Here is What I Learned… Useful for defining the problems and feelings, as well as for applying the solutions.

    Anyone susceptible to being controlled by what people think or who need a reminder to trust their gut feeling or inner voice would benefit from this article.

    Weddings are the kinds of things that can create great turmoil if someone is not 100% committed. All the money spent, the people gathered (some of them from faraway places, who made great sacrifices to come), and the time spent in organizing the event weigh heavily if one suddenly feels the decision may not be right.

    Promises are relevant only when the conditions that they were based on still apply. A person may promise to marry, but time uncovers factors that may cause one to reconsider the decision–either at that time or with that person. The promise was still made in good faith under a specific set of conditions. If the conditions change, the situation needs to be re-evaluated and may have a different endpoint. Conditions, situations, and relationships are not static, so promises cannot always be. I used the marriage example here, but this applies to many other things, especially major decisions.

    Finally, “promise” status is sometimes attributed by other people to things you say without you specifically laying it out as a promise. You end up finding this out later and find yourself hooped. I’ve learned that sometimes it is important to define what isn’t a promise, but rather something you will do as long as the conditions continue to be favourable. Sometimes you really have to spell it out to others, but also to yourself–to realize this may change based on what continues to be “right,” because following through once it becomes not right, in the end, causes even worse problems.
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    • Sherie August 29, 2012, 11:24 am

      Weddings are particularly vulnerable times especially with the amount of money spent in preparation for the actual event. I believe that the engagement period is a time to get to know each other better and if factors come up, there is nothing wrong with making the decision to not marry. You’re right, the situation would need to be re-evaluated under those circumstances. : D

  • Eva Blaskovic August 29, 2012, 10:24 am

    “Making mistakes can be the quickest path to learning something…and yet we are all so afraid to do that…to make a mistake.” — This is because for most of our lives (at least those of us who are circa age 50), this was the message given to us. People in general were very unforgiving about mistakes. You simply did not make them, or suffered grave consequences. This was true in institutions as well as relationships.

    I first noticed the pattern begin to change with the introduction of the Magic School Bus books and TV shows for kids in the 1990s (“get messy, make mistakes!”). This was a wholly new concept that eventually took our society by storm and attitudes began to change everywhere. Today, the messages appearing in social media state that (1) we all make mistakes (understand it and forgive others, and you too will be forgiven when your turn comes to make one), (2) mistakes are positive in that we can (and should) learn lessons from them, and (3) mistakes aren’t the end of the world, even when they are big ones.

    A person with the history outlined in the first paragraph has to work hard to restore confidence. But the breakthrough moment comes when you can say to yourself, “Yes, I made a mistake. I learned from it. You can accept it or not, but I’m moving on.” The hardest part is when others do not forgive, especially when you worked hard and in good faith based on resources and information available to you at the time. The most valued people are those who can look back with you, analyze the situation, and say, “Yes, with what you had available to you at the time, you did your best. ‘Everyone’s a general after the war’; ‘hindsight has 20/20 vision.'”

    • Sherie August 29, 2012, 11:22 am

      Eva, love your insights! Yes, it does take some work to restore confidence and it is a growing and learning process. I, too, have noticed the trends in social media about the messages about mistakes and it is a very good thing. We are just doing the best we can with the information that we have at the time…and everybody makes mistakes…and as long as we learn from them and move on…then, it’s all good…