Past Mistakes

Today’s chaotic world and shifting work environment has got me thinking about my own path and some of my most epic mistakes. More importantly, it has got me thinking about the scars left behind by some of those mistakes and how those scars fit into my journey.

The first time I ever wrote a motorcycle, I was six years old. My three brothers decided that it was time for me to learn so I could participate in all the fun on the farm (dodge ball on motorcycles, anyone?). They loaded me up on a little yellow Suzuki and sent me on my way.

At the time, it was hot and dry in Iowa and the tractors and farm equipment had left ruts all around the farm from the wet spring. Having never done this before, I didn’t realize how dangerous those ruts could be when you’re flying 30 miles an hour around the farm on a dirt bike.

It didn’t take long before I encountered one of those ruts, misjudged it, and dumped the motorcycle. To this day, I still have a huge scar on my knee that commemorates that very first motorcycle ride.

Whenever I look at that scar, I can choose to think how reckless it was of us and how reckless I am in general. I can use it as an opening to judge myself and situations I tend to get myself into.

Poor judgment. Recklessness. Little foresight.

Or I can look at that scar and think, Gosh, I had a great childhood. We are lucky no one ever got severely injured! The freedom I was given during my childhood to try new things and to overcome fears was pretty amazing. I can look at that scar and see it as an acknowledgement that I can try new things and get back on the motorcycle even after I’ve hurt myself.

The things that happened in our past that are negative offer us the same opportunity: we can look at those experiences and the scars they leave and we can use those experiences to judge ourselves or we can change the way we think about those experiences (experiments?). We can instead think about our past scars from a place that is rooted in compassion, understanding, and faith in our own development. The choice is always ours.

When I open myself up to the first line of thinking, it’s easy to pile on and see a pattern in my life of recklessness–a horrible marriage, run down investment property, bad tattoos, even worse hair styles, and countless caprice. Every day, I make a conscious choice not to make any of my past experiences mean anything negative about myself. I choose to treat my scars as badges of honor.

These days, many of my clients are changing jobs, changing careers, experiencing downsizing, illness, death, and loss. What I have been blessed to witness is that when my clients are able to change the way they think about those experiences, it dramatically alters their course ahead and their next successes.

What they choose to believe about their “scars” has an immediate and dramatic effect on what they do next.

If you are struggling right now, I encourage you to bring in support and invest in believing differently. Your future success and happiness depend upon it. Join us. You won’t regret it.

Photo by Rodolfo Clix

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