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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Sturdy

Can't stop thinking about a past mistake?

It's normal and human to hyper-focus on our mistakes. It's evolutionary. I used to ruminate for hours, days, or even weeks on certain mistakes.

Coaching, therapy, and trainings have taught me to more quickly:

  1. Let Go

  2. Find the Laughter

  3. Find the Learning

Below I'll share three mistakes from September and how I chose to let go, laugh, and learn.

Mistake 1: Grouchy Phone Call

I recently made the mistake of answering a phone call from a prospective partner, even though I was REALLY tired and REALLY grouchy.

This prospective partner had called to (very kindly) let me know they were not interested in working with me at this time. Rejection is a part of the business, but I'd never had this type of conversation over the phone. No time to carefully choose my words (email) or to read their face/body language (in person/video).

I tried to ask good questions, but I know my tone and questions were not as warm, encouraging, or curious as I normally am. I was grouchy that evening, but know that beating myself won't serve anyone. I choose to let the mistake go and focus on the lesson learned.

Lesson learned- I DO NOT have to answer the phone if I'm not in the right head space to be kind and curious.

Thankfully, not all my mistakes are downers like the above. Sometimes my mistakes are downright HILARIOUS.

This past month, I had two on my birthday week.

Mistake 2: Burned Birthday Cake

I decided to make a new cake from scratch. I bought all the ingredients, preheated the oven, started a movie, carefully measured and mixed, put it in the oven, scrolled on my phone, and then tidied up…20 minutes later, there was a smell.

I had FORGOTTEN to change the oven temperature to the recommended 175C, it was set to 225C.

Smoke and steam filled the kitchen. I took the cake out and proceeded to have a mini-meltdown.

Thankfully, 30 minutes and a break on the coach later, the cake had cooled down enough for me to assess the damage. I cut off the burned part and was VERY pleased that the bottom/middle of the cake was still delicious.

Once cut down and covered in layers of cream cheese frosting, my cake looked and, more importantly, tasted pretty good!

Mistake 3: Six Fingers

I went to a lovely Yoga/Soup/Art event at KUK.

One of the activities we did was to paint a painting representing our experience during the yoga/reflection session.

I chose to paint two hands hugging a heart. This symbolized me using empathy and car to nurture myself, especially when I get bus supporting others in my personal and professional life.

Lots of my fellow artists, yoga teacher, and yogis said it was lovely.

I went home and added a few more finishing touches with my paint. I showed it to friends and my husband, and they also said nice things.

I decided to use this pleasing piece of art as the inspiration/image for a birthday social media post, which I proceeded to share on my personal and business Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn - FIVE different platforms.

Then I got ONE message from an old friend in Oregon on Facebook, “​​What is the significance of the six fingers on one of your hands in the painting with the heart?”

I picked up my painting, and there it was. SIX fingers.

This lovely friend thought it meant something.


Not yet anyways.

Despite teaching primary school for many years, I was too focused on the painting and other thoughts to bother counting how many fingers were on the second hand in my artwork.

Super curious - For those of you who clicked like or commented “Happy birthday” on that post (pictured below), did you notice the sixth finger? PLEASE comment if you did. I am SO curious.

My immediate reaction to the discovered 6th finger was to get the paints out to fix my “mistake.”

But it was just TOO funny.

My painting now symbolizes both laughter and learning around:

  • nurturing myself

  • humor that can come from mistakes

  • the number 6. Still searching for the deeper meaning here.

It's on my wall in the home office and I think I'll keep this reminder around for a good long time.

Learning and Laughter

To summarize it, “Mistakes are proof that you are trying” - Jennifer Lim.

So whether it's baking, painting, or something new at work, you can strive to see your mistakes or shortcomings as proof that you ARE trying.

I taught growth mindset to my students for years. I encourage my coaching clients not to judge themselves for their mistakes. I must practice what I preach and find the laughter or the learning in my mistakes.

Mistakes are Opportunities for:

  1. Letting Go

  2. Laughter

  3. Learning

Challenge: Reflect- What mistakes have you made recently? What laughter or learning can you take from them? Share some laughter and learning by sharing in the comments below!

Did this post make you laugh or help you see a new perspective? Share it with a friend!

P.S. - Would you like individualized support with reframing your mistakes? Grab a space in my calendar next week to try coaching for free: Complimentary Coaching Consultation.

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