Sometime back, my daughters school invited us for a career day. Being a boarding school, most of us parents were so eager to go so that we could have a chance to meet and spend time with our kids. That is not the story I would like to share today. The story is, the invited guest, a motivational speaker and a one-time TV presenter was on the floor. He was dressed to the nines, well-spoken and had this amazing 3D presentation that made some of us in the corporate world really scratch our heads!
Every word, every breath, every page was extremely rosy! He talked of big figures, the salary he has earned, the money he has made, the estate he lives in, the shopping…oh how much the audience drooled! Don’t get me wrong! I have no problem with all these! My problem was, and still is; did he wake up one morning and find all these waiting on his door? Didn’t he struggle to get where he is? What mistakes did he make along the way? What story should he have been telling the young people?
Months later as I was contemplating on this, I came across an article written by Nancy Birnbaum-Gerber and it hit the cursor home! She started her story with this statement; The more successful people are, it seems, the more mistakes they’ve made. Errors often turn out to be more valuable down the road than the expected outcome.”
And this made me think about Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb. How many times did he fail before succeeding? How many times have you failed yourself? And what did you do after the failure? Stayed at the same spot and cried your heart out? Knowing what to do about, and with, our mistakes is one of the best success tools around. Let us now look at the lessons as written by Nancy:
1. Accept the reality that mistakes are part of everyone’s life -- even yours. You have made, are making, and will always make mistakes.
2. Differentiate between the small stuff and situations that are warning signals. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Some people lose sight of the fact that those little errors are just part of life. However, if the same type of situation keeps happening -- if you always scramble at the last minute to complete a task, if your co-workers and family continually complain that communicating with you is difficult -- pay attention.
3. Accept responsibility for your mistakes. It’s easy to blame other people, poor procedures, miscommunication, etc. for the failure of a project or situation. That only sets you up to repeat the same errors again and again. Go off alone, sit in silence for a while, and ask yourself -- What did I do to contribute to this situation? How can I make it better next time?
4. Find people with whom you can process the situation. Seek out honest and trustworthy supporters who will not sugar-coat their feedback or divert you with too much sympathy. Ask for time specifically to discuss your mistakes and how you can learn from them.
5. Own responsibility for your mistakes. Share your insights with your boss, co-workers, friends, and family as appropriate. Tell them how you’ll change your behavior, or ask for input.
6. Expect that you’ll make mistakes even in your areas of expertise. What is most important here is accepting your mistakes and the lessons that you will learn.
7. Be prepared for your mistakes with constructive self-talk. Start by tuning in to how you talk to yourself when those little things go wrong. Be sure your language is self-enhancing (I’m going to allow myself fifteen more minutes to get across town from now on) rather than self-defeating; Late again! I just can’t seem to get anywhere on time!
8. Mistakes often happen when things are going well. People tend to get over-confident or over-anxious when all their hard work starts paying off. The key here is to strive for balance. Self-confidence is important, combined with a healthy dose of reality, proper perspective and enough concern to maintain motivation and forward momentum.
9. The bigger the mistake, the more important lessons it contains. Use the questions in #3 as a starting point. As painful as it is to examine a tough situation closely, the information it will yield is priceless.
10. USE the information you gain from your mistakes immediately, and integrate it into your daily life, activities, and behaviors.
This reminds of something I read, that information without implementation is useless. So you have made a mistake about your course choice or about to, don’t worry. Join thousands of other youth in this journey of self-awareness and career readiness course! CAREER AND COLLEGE READINESS COURSE is an online transitional course for youth leaving high school into life after high school. The course is designed to impart skills to anyone aspiring to join tertiary education or any post-secondary training locally or internationally and other post high school options available. It is able to answer questions like; What next after high school? Who am I? How do I know my talents? What are the different types of post high school options? What is College success? What if i don't go to college? The course takes Four (4) Weeks and has interactive activities to enrich your learning experiences. It will help you discover unlimited possibilities! SEE YOU IN CLASS!
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