Learn From Mistakes and How To Move Forward After Making Them

couple who learn from their mistakes


During our coaching sessions,  my clients assign themselves homework that they need to complete prior to our next session.  Sometimes it all gets done, sometimes it doesn’t. But the point is they are taking action. By taking action you’re able to learn from the mistake.  

Mistakes can bring them opportunities they would have never had before. These mistakes can lead to failure. However, it doesn’t mean it has to end that way. Failure isn’t a loss as long as you learn from it.  


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How to Learn From Mistakes? 

Learning isn’t the only option when making a mistake. You have to own it, and you have to make it right. I closed on a house last month. It was stressful, especially during a pandemic (But that’s another story). My bank screwed up and sent me documents late. It was a pain in my neck. I talked to my mortgage broker; she said, “You know what? I’m going to own this. It’s my fault, and I could have done better. I’m sorry”. I said, “Okay, you owned your mistake.” 

There can be three steps to take after making a mistake. Using the steps can ensure you learn from it rather than go down the same path. 

Step 1: Own the Mistake 

If you don’t own it, you can’t move on to the next steps.  It’s not about saying “I’m sorry you feel that way.” That brings the narrative on them. Be sorry for your actions. The actions you made impacted them negatively. Sorry doesn’t fix things. Have an effective apology.

Step 2: Identify the Mistake

Identifying the mistake is about empathizing. Put yourself in their shoes. For example, maybe you didn’t show up to a night out with your spouse. That likely made them feel lonely, and you didn’t care about them.  You’re not able to learn from the mistake if you can’t see the impact you’ve caused. If you can’t empathize, simply ask them, “How did I make you feel?”.

Step 3: Repair the Mistake 

How can you make it right? Can you fix the mistake? Repairing your mistake means you’re able to learn from it. Continue to have the resilience to move forward and try again. Find a solution to the mistake for the present and future.


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Taking Action To Make Mistakes 

Surfing, football or flying are things we would never do if we worried about making a mistake. Why? Because there is some sort of risk in everything. Putting yourself out there can lead to mistakes or failure. It could be an artist selling their first piece. That fear, worry and anxiety from putting themselves out there is a lot to think about. However, they would never sell anything if they worried about the feedback from others. 

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

A mindset is a piece of the puzzle when making mistakes. Sometimes, we can worry about the mistakes before they happen. Worry is the interest paid on a loan you haven’t made yet. You’re spending the emotional energy with the worry of making a mistake. It’s called anticipatory anxiety

Being okay with the risk involved allows you to make those mistakes. Sure, the artists may never sell a painting if they put it for sale. They’ll also never be able to get paid as an artist or never learn to sell. Don’t let the worry stop you from making mistakes. It can lead you on the path to growth. 

Using a Third Party To Get Feedback

Dr. Atul Gawande is a columnist for the New Yorker. He hired a coach to help him look for areas he needed to improve on. He wanted to know about the possible mistakes that could happen so he could learn about them beforehand. It’s quite this paradigm because. He is an expert doctor that no one would question, and even he is seeking help.

We can learn from Atul about our own mistakes. The best way to learn about these mistakes is by bringing in a third party to help you. It could be a life coach. It could be family or friends. The best source can be an old friend. They’ve seen you throughout the years and can spot patterns that are emerging. They can call you on your bullshit. 

Therapists also ask about the people around their clients. For example, they may ask has their spouse or friends noticed anything? These are the people that know you best. Asking for feedback will help you see the mistake you’re making.

Mistakes Happen. Don’t Hide From Them 

We shouldn’t hide from mistakes. Everyone makes them. It’s part of life. It’s what you do after. Did you learn from it? Are you better focused? Have you owned it? Did you make it right?  Ask yourself these questions to move past your mistakes and move forward. 

As a life coach, I want you to take action. Making your own mistakes is part of the process of learning. I take great pride in helping my clients move through their mistakes. If you want to take the next step, reach out and schedule an introductory session. I’m here to support you. 

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