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.