You Made a Mistake – Use It To Be Wiser and Smarter

Things happen. You make a mistake. We all do. “Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal,” says Don Shula. Perfection isn’t in our makeup – that’s okay. We all are members in the Oops! Club.

When we talk about being ready for life, many people think this means that we always get things right. We choose wisely. Things work out well.

We know life isn’t like that. We aren’t like that and that is actually the key to our greatness. To be ready for life means we know things will break down, fall apart, melt down and just not work, but our growth and development happens in the learning in those moments. We gather information about how to be better the next time.

Life is done by trial-and-error

I like to tell my audiences that we weren’t born with an owner’s manual – a guidebook that tells us who we are, what we should do and how we should live. Instead, we get the gift of each moment in life as the means to gather information – a kind of trial and error process – to see what does and doesn’t work. Each day, we show up and learn more about ourselves. Each day, we gather more information to determine what we rock at and what we stink at – so we can consider better ideas and options, then to choose those that make the most sense for who we are. In other words, do more of what you rock at and less of what you stink at.

In this process, we sometimes get it right – Woohoo! Celebrate! Sometimes we get it wrong – Woohoo! Celebrate! It is in the mistakes and failures that we actually learn more about ourselves – we gather more information that can help us better understand how to make our next moments better.

A mistake can be a tool of greatness

Maybe that seems like this statement is at odds with itself but it really isn’t. Greatness isn’t a location or an end. It is a mindset and an attitude – a commitment to discover and become one’s best. And because our road to being our best selves isn’t clearly defined, we stumble our way along. Mistakes guide us if we let them.

So, how do we get better at accepting our membership in the Oops! Club?

  • Learn to laugh more. We sometimes think everything matters. That is just a story we tell ourselves. Actually, we decide of what happens, what matters. Sure there are some serious situations in life, but most of the situations that we label as serious just aren’t. We could see them as the way life is and get better at laughing them off.
  • Learn to tune in more. Life is loaded with information, most of which we miss because we don’t tune into our lives. We are so distracted by all of the noise, lights and yack around us that we don’t pay attention to the things in our life. Tune in means noticing your thoughts, feelings and actions and what motivates them. Make time. Turn the electronics off. Close your eyes. Be still. This is how to connect to your information source.
  • Learn to cut others more slack. If we were able to allow others to be more human (because we all make mistakes), perhaps we could allow ourselves to be more human. Cut yourself some slack when things don’t go as planned. Oops. instead, just ask yourself this question: What can I do better next time?

Welcome to the Oops! Club. I am a long-time and proud card-carrying member. This club encourages learning, growing and changing. I like who I become by being part of this club – life grows deeper, stronger and bolder. This is how we access our greatness and learn how to be ready for life. Carry your membership card proudly.


To See A Genius, Look In The Mirror

You are a genius. No, I am not talking about your IQ. And I am not talking about whether you work for Apple.

You are a genius because you are amazing, talented, inspiring and extraordinary. You are all these things. Me too. Maybe we haven’t figured out how to live them yet, but we are these things. Knowing this empowers us to make the effort to discover what genius we came packaged with so we can be ready for life – so we can choose to live life in a way that makes a difference to ourselves and our world.

What makes you a genius?

No genius is brilliant at everything – every genius is average at some things and is utterly amazing at others. To discover what makes you a genius requires you to be open to try new things, investigate and have the courage to see yourself and the world differently. By tuning in to who you are, you start to see the elements of genius you came packaged with. By developing the courage to be authentic, you gain access to your genius. But the decks are stacked against you; you are guided and encouraged to hide or cover up your genius.

You are taught in school to see things in the same way – the grass is green, the sky is blue and the sun is yellow; there is something wrong with you if you see shapes, colors or textures others don’t. You learn facts about the past to guide you how to think about the future. You sit in rows and memorize facts instead of following your passions, thinking independently and seeing your uniqueness as valuable and important. Your genius gets trained out of you – you learn to blend – you learn groupthink. It is easier to educate everyone in one way than to encourage each of us to see the world in our own unique and genius way.

We need our genius to be ready for life

Your genius is your guidance and fuel to live life in a way that matters – to tap into what is best in you and to use that best to build a great life and a better world. When you allow your unique genius to come forward, be developed and flourish, you expand what you see, think about and consider. This is how you can invent new and amazing things. This is how you can solve chronic or challenging problems. This is how you can find ways to change the world for the better. This is how you figure out who you are and how to show up to a life in a way that really matters.

So, what gets you ready for life? Discovering, developing and living your genius – your unique abilities.

And, what stops you? The loud voices around you that don’t see your genius or don’t consider your version of genius valuable.

Work hard to know your genius. Trust it and let it guide your decisions. And, the next time you look at someone, tune in to their ‘genius’ – their unique and amazing abilities. Get good at seeing and encouraging their genius – to allow them to be the best versions of themselves.

Be proud of your genius. See it as an amazing and remarkable part of your. Value it for how it makes you different. Value it for how it helps you find your way in a noisy and cluttered world. Value it because it lest you be the best version of you. Discover, developing and living your genius is how to be ready for life.

Do You Always Seem To Be Struggling With Life?

For many, life is one great struggle. We struggle with bosses who don’t respect us or our work. We struggle with trying to get more things done each day than are humanly possible. We struggle trying to get our kids to do their homework, get into bed, get into the car and stop bothering their siblings. Struggle, struggle, struggle.

Some people feel that they just aren’t alive unless they are locked head-to-head with something in life – people, events, beliefs. What if instead, we were more able to be in flow with life than to be struggling with life? What if the key to living our greatness and a happy life is actually to stop struggling and learn to be more okay with how life shows up?

Go for the ride

I am not saying you should not have goals, a focus or a plan. Set the direction you want for life by knowing yourself and knowing your world. Build your guardrails along your road in life to keep yourself on your path. Then as life comes at you, go for the ride. Stay on your road but don’t fight with what shows up on the road.

Struggling with life just makes us regret, resent or miss our lives. It turns into a battle of wills that fatigues us to a point where we don’t see its greatness, awesomeness or value. We see everything as a win/lose, us/them, good/bad.

What to do instead of struggling with life

What if instead, we changed our ideas, thoughts and beliefs to see that life just is.  Accepting what is then uses the energy you normally would use to fight and struggle to now respond in a new, healthier and more successful way. Here are some examples.

  • Let’s say you are in a job you don’t like. Your boss is like many bosses – he is not that supportive or interested in connecting with you to engage and inspire you. So you anguish over how awful work is. What if instead, you used all that energy to see which ways you could make work better for yourself – offer more ideas to bring your best to what you do. Or, what if you used your energy not to fight with the situation but rather to see it as the information that now is the time to go find something better – a workplace that openly wants and values you?
  • Let’s say you are always arguing with your teen. What if instead, you remind yourself that the best solutions come from a reasonable and sane conversation, something that can’t happen if you go directly into a conflict or struggle? What if you realized that your teen is actually a unique person trying to find his way, to live his own life –  not to be a replica of yours? What if you simply stopped arguing, started talking and shared something you love about your teen, or something he does well? Communication could change.
  • Let’s say you are driving on the highway and a car recklessly pulls in front of you – no blinker. You can of course return the reckless behavior and be aggravated by the event for the balance of your day. Or, you could quickly slow down, realize that you don’t know the motivation for their action, and not be locked in a mental struggle with a situation you don’t know about or have any control over. You could simply wish the driver well and keep on your way. You could. Or, you could struggle…

I heard a great line from the On Being podcast interview (host Krista Tippett) with social psychologist Ellen Langer – Dr. Langer said, “No worry before its time.” I’d like to offer, “no struggle before its time.” There are indeed times when struggling helps us grow. There are also times that struggling is just our go-to behavior that doesn’t serve us. We should know the difference. Save the struggle for the important things.

How To Help Your Kids Discover Their Inner Superhero, with Bolaji O – RFL024

How To Help Your Kids Discover Their Inner Superhero – Episode Overview

Each of us has amazing abilities – super abilities – our “inner-awesome.” So remember, a superhero has exceptional UNIQUE abilities that he or she uses to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world. You have that. Your kids have that. Do we see it in ourselves? Do we see it in our kids? How can we discover it and bring it into our everyday lives?

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on what is awesome, amazing and unique in each of us. And my intention is to share ways for us to discover and live this, and to guide support and coach our kids into discovering and living their inner-awesome. Imagine the lives they would have and the world we would create.

Meet our guest Bolaji Oyejide (Bolaji O)

Bolagi OBolaji O is a 7-time best selling author, podcaster, award-winning speaker, parent extraordinaire of 2 boys and an all around amazing person. He is committed to helping all of us discover our inner superhero, and challenges us to actively live our amazing abilities. He has been on almost every network and is author of the wonderful Brave Little Heroes books, helping kids find their inner-awesome and show up big to their lives. Learn more about this “super” person at the following links:

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. We each have an origin story – a way to share who we are. When we share our stories with our kids, they see how to craft an origin story and to start to see what is possible for their own lives.
  2. We each have unique abilities that show up in the way we see the world. We tune in to the things we are both good at and passionate about. As our kids start to notice this in themselves, they are sharing this information with us. This is important to know as we guide, support and coach them to use what they discover and share to make great work and life decisions.
  3. Parents are not their children’s owners – they are their children’s life traveling partners – their role is to walk with their kids to help them decipher and discover their world and where their place in it can be.
  4. Use this quote by Buckminster Fuller to help your kids discover what is great in them and use it in life: “What is it on this planet that needs doing that I know something about that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?” What do we know of ourselves and of our world, and how do we have the courage (think superhero) to take responsibility for doing our thing in our world?
  5. The Brave Little Heroes books share stories to help today’s kids see themselves in hero roles – that they have unique abilities that they can us to do good things in life.

Some question for parents:

  1. What are your superhero abilities – something you are great at that adds value to your world?
  2. For each of your kids, what are you starting to see as their unique or superhero abilities and how are you helping connect them to applications in today’s world?
  3. How are you sharing stories with your kids about you and about life?
  4. How are you making intentional time each day to teach your kids through stories and conversation?

Here’s the link to the article mentioned in the podcast: Bedtime Stories – How To Never Lose Their Magic

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Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  • Stop and Notice what is great, awesome and unique about you. How are you using this in your days?
  • Stop and Notice what is great, awesome and unique about each of your kids. How are you helping them incorporate this in their days?
  • Stop and Notice the stories you tell yourself – about you and about your life. How can you update and improve your stories?
  • Stop and Notice how you walk through life with your kids. Do you push and pull them, or walk with them as their life’s traveling partner, helping them see, decipher and understand themselves and their world?

We are each born with superhero abilities. Said another way, we each have unique and great abilities that when realized can make a difference in our world. Know yours. Help your kids know theirs. Hold them and yourself accountable to show up this way, each day, and to add value and make a difference in your world.

Suggested Resource

Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary By Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval

Grit to Great - Inner Superhero ResourceIn Grit to Great, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval tackle a topic that is close to their hearts, one that they feel is the real secret to their own success in their careers–and in the careers of so many people they know and have met. And that is the incredible power of grit, perseverance, perspiration, determination, and sheer stick-to-it-tiveness. We are all dazzled by the notion that there are some people who get ahead, who reach the corner office because they are simply gifted, or well-connected, or both. But research shows that we far overvalue talent and intellectual ability in our culture. The fact is, so many people get ahead–even the gifted ones–because they worked incredibly hard, put in the thousands of hours of practice and extra sweat equity, and made their own luck. And Linda and Robin should know–they are two girls from the Bronx who had no special advantages or privileges and rose up through their own hard work and relentless drive to succeed to the top of their highly competitive profession.

In a book illustrated with a cornucopia of stories and the latest research on success, the authors reveal the strategies that helped them, and countless others, succeed at the highest levels in their careers and professions, and in their personal lives. They talk about the guts–the courage–necessary to take on tough challenges and not give up at the first sign of difficulty. They discuss the essential quality of resiliency. Everyone suffers setbacks in their careers and in life. The key, however, is to pick yourself up and bounce back. Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology, they discuss why optimists do better in school, work, and on the playing field–and how to reset that optimistic set point. They talk about industriousness, the notion that Malcolm Gladwell popularized with the 10,000-hour rule in his book Outliers. Creativity theorist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believes it takes a minimum of 10 years for one’s true creative potential to be realized. And the authors explore the concept of tenacity–the quality that allows us to remain focused and avoid distraction in order to get the job done–an increasingly difficult task in today’s fragmented, cluttered, high-tech, connected world.