Rethinking Making Mistakes & Failures
Mistakes and failures, who doesn’t face them? We’re all making mistakes and experiencing failures. The question that I want to answer today is… now what do we do with them?
Today we’re going to get into all the juiciness of making mistakes and experiencing failures as parents, as people and for our children as well.
Grab your Finish Strong Guide and together we’ll process what you’ve been through this year, no matter what 2020 has brought to you or taken from you. Let’s forgive the mistakes made, heal lingering wounds, reflect on the lessons learned, and finish the year strong!
We All Make Mistakes
Yep, we ALL make mistakes! If you look back over the past year, my guess is that you feel like there have been some terrible mistakes made (either on your part or on other people’s parts.)
I bet you have a lot of judgments and criticisms for how people have handled things and for what’s gone on.
I think we all have that experience both in judgement of other people in the way they handle things, but also and perhaps more painfully in judgement of ourselves when we make mistakes or when we have failed somehow.
First, A Mindset Recap on Making Mistakes!
When we talk about how to recover from making mistakes, I want to remind us first of Carol Dweck’s mindset teachings.
If you’ve ever said to yourself something like:
- I’m just a failure.
- That’s just the way I am…
- I can’t get anything right!
- It always happens to me.
- I always do this.
- I’m just not good enough.
You are participating in fixed mindset thinking.
Fixed Mindset Thinking
When we’re in a fixed mindset, we assume that people aren’t able to mold themselves, shape themselves, grow and change.
We think that we’re stuck, we’re rigid, we are as we come.
We believe that If you’re born with a certain level of intelligence or capability or skills, that’s just predetermined and there’s not much you can do about it.
There are a lot people in the world today who think this way about themselves and about others. They assume that what they see in other people is just how that person is. And what they see in themselves is just what they are.
We Want to Adopt a Growth Mindset
Have you ever heard your child say, “I’m just not good at this!” In these instances, we want to introduce them to a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is the mindset that says people can always change and evolve. People can adapt, you can learn and you can grow from your mistakes and from your “failures.”
We Can Learn From Mistakes
We learn from mistakes made because mistakes are learning opportunities. When you listen to success speeches and people talking about the habits of successful people, one of the themes that comes up again and again is that:
Successful people view their mistakes and failures as learning opportunities.
They don’t bully themselves and beat themselves up for the ways that they’ve made mistakes.
Instead, they say, “well, I’m kind of glad that that happened, as painful as it was because now I know what not to do. Now I’ve learned something about myself or about the world.”
They see those experiences as their most valuable opportunities that build wisdom and experience and actually make them better as they move forward.
They’re not afraid to take a risk.
They’re not afraid to try again because they know that if they succeed, they succeed. Fine. Great. But if they fail, then at least they’ve learned a lesson. And that to them is valuable, so it’s worth at least trying.
What Happens When You Make a Mistake?
Are you beating yourself up because you yelled at your kids, or because you failed somehow, or because you didn’t meet certain criteria for yourself, or because you promised yourself you wouldn’t eat that thing and then you did, or you promised yourself you would work out and then you didn’t, or you spent money you didn’t mean to spend?
Do you really get down on yourself because of your “failures?”
Or do you say, “That was a mistake, Everybody makes mistakes. I can learn, I can grow, I can adapt, I can take lessons from this, I can try again. I can get up, dust myself off and do this differently next time. I can make a change. I’m a creative individual. I am someone who constantly grows and adapts.”
Everything is Constantly Changing
Everything in nature changes all of the time. Every molecule that you can perceive is in motion. You can’t take the same picture of yourself twice because in that nanosecond, the cells in your body have been replenishing and dying and you are literally a different organism from one second to the next.
On more of an identity level, you change too. You change your opinions, you change your feelings, you change your mindset, you grow new skills, your experience teaches you and you are this mega learning machine.
You are a machine that is constantly teaching itself new tricks, new ideas, new skills, new outlooks and approaches on life.
To Think That Others Are Fixed is A Mistake
Yes, of course, sometimes we’ve got to believe who people are when they show it to us. When someone shows us that they’re not trustworthy, it doesn’t mean that the next moment they’re going to be trustworthy.
However, people do change and do adapt.
And people do make mistakes.
That’s part of the human condition. People fail, they try, they make mistakes.
And the question is, how do we want to approach that in our child, in other people, and with ourselves?
Is There Always The Potential For Change?
Do we want to say, “well, people make mistakes! Sometimes they make the same mistake over and over and over again… but there is always the potential for growth, the potential to change, and the potential to overcome.”
And if we say that and hold that to light, if we truly believe that about ourselves and about others, here’s what’s likely to happen:
- We’re likely to ward off a lot of the helplessness, depression, hostility, and anger that we have towards other people because we realize that people can change, adapt, and grow.
- We feel less stuck, less trapped, less enraged by the mistakes that are happening, and a greater sense of hope. We feel that even though those mistakes happened, we can overcome them. We can apologize. We can reflect and process. We can learn from it. We can resolve to do better next time and we can move on.
We Can Change… And So Can Our Kids
You are not stuck where you began. You are not stuck with just who you “happen to be”, with your sensitivities, anxieties, frustrations, fears, and character traits that you dislike, or habits that aren’t serving you.
You’re not stuck with any of that. It’s all moldable, shapeable, changeable, malleable… and our children are too. Anyone who’s raised a child for even a day sees how much they adapt and change and grow.
So if you’re stuck in a certain paradigm with yourself or with your child, if you see them constantly kind of living out the same behaviors and it feels like they’re never going to move on, they’re never going to learn, they’re never going to grow, they’re never going to be potty-trained or stop biting or stop having nightmares or start to go to school more happily or whatever it is…
My promise to you is that change is something that you can rely on and depend on.
People change, people grow, people adapt.
What Mistakes Were Made This Past Year?
As you’re looking back over this year, instead of seeing our mistakes and our failures and other people’s mistakes and failures as be-all and end-all terrible things that happened… ask yourself these questions:
- What can we learn?
- How can we grow?
- Where can we make changes?
- How are we already successfully adapting, changing, and adjusting ourselves in accordance to the lessons that we’ve learned?
Let’s Finish The Year Strong!
I know we’re all having a really hard time right now and a little bit of mindset coaching is going to go a long way for us parents who are struggling in the trenches of this challenging parenting time. If this was helpful for you, please share it out with anyone else who you think it might serve.
Join us in the Finish Strong Challenge and share it out to win some Parenting Junkie swag and get that daily coaching from me where we’re going to go through some prompts and questions and ideas to process what’s going on this year and to finish the year strong.
Keep on loving parenting and parenting from love.