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Monday, November 10, 2008

The Key to Success is Making Mistakes

The key to success is making mistakes...and learning from them. I had my first job as a manager at 21 years old. I managed a small staff of women who were all 10-30 years my senior. I was a new manager and struggled with many things. I kept the job for three years, and most of the time I was frustrated and unhappy. But looking back, I learned and grew as a person in those years.

All the disappointments and challenges prepared me for the bigger and better things that came in the years after that job. Those experiences forced me to grow, to know myself better, to gain self-confidence, and to face my weaknesses and insecurities. Many times I could have handled things better, and other times the outcome was beyond my control. But, at the time, I was really hard on myself for being less than perfect. Before then, I had never experienced failure, frustration, or even a major setback.

Looking back, I'm proud of myself for getting out alive! I refused to give up and used each challenge as a stepping stone. In the Buddhist tradition, difficulties are considered to be so important to a life of growth and peace that a Tibetan prayer actually asks for them. It says, "Grant that I may be given appropriate difficulties and sufferings on this journey so that my heart may truly awaken and my practice of liberation and universal compassion may be fulfilled."

Difficult times are opportunities for genuine growth.

Life coach Cheryl Richardson offers these questions to help identify a positive outcome in a challenging situation:

1. If this were happening to strengthen a part of me, which part would it be?
2. What can I learn from this experience?
3. Who can help me transform this disappointment into an opportunity?
4. How can I use what I've learned from this disappointment to help others?

photo by wisconsinhiker

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mama dialogues said...

I am very glad you posted about this. I have never thought to look at difficulties as opportunities for growth. Thank you for giving me a new perspective! <3

Jenn said...

Those are fabulous questions to ask yourself!!! It helps you to see the good in the bad. :)

Josie said...

Hi Joy - I love the idea of learning from difficulties. I always ask myself "what's good about this?" and "what can I learn from this situation?" For those truly bad situations, you can always learn that you are stronger than you thought, or at least that you will have one hell of a story to tell!

I truly love the Tibetan prayer you wrote. I hadn't heard it before. I'm copying it into my "favorite quotes" document right now!

Sara at On Simplicity said...

I very much agree. I don't enjoy failure in the slightest, but it's never as bad in retrospect as it is in the moment.

I think now is the perfect time in life for making mistakes. May as well learn while we're young!

Genoa said...

Goodness. Reading this post couldn't have happened at a better time. That is so how I feel about my current experience working abroad in South Korea.