THE BLOG

Bad Decisions Can Lead to Well-Learned Lessons

06/22/2015 07:28 pm ET | Updated Jun 22, 2016

We've all made choices that we wish we hadn't. Often, I regret getting the whip cream on my frappuccino. But for those gut wrenching choices, the ones that can haunt us for years to come, how do we process those? I rely on one of my favorite songs, "Belief" by John Mayer, "we win some, we learn some." I love this idea that we never really lose when we make mistakes, but gain experience, wisdom, and hopefully a little compassion for when we see other making the same errors.

Dust Yourself Off

Yup, when we stumble whether it's in business or life, all we can do it pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and keep going. It might sound like a Hallmark card, but really what other choice is there? Even when you make a good decision, sometimes fate (or other people) has other things planned. The worst thing we can do is become stagnant - paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake. The next worst thing is to be completely reactionary, like a ball in a pinball table, we just crash into obstacles without really overcoming them again and again until we fall and start the cycle all over again.

Consider it just part of your path to greatness

This might seem like a stretch, but seriously no self-made business person got to where they are now without a few [million] bumps in the road. There are literally billions of how-to start, run, and make a better business, but very few of us are actually get someone to handhold us through the process of starting, running, or making a better business. Mark Zuckerberg has said, "The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."

This thought is especially important for people who are just starting out in their career or even a business of their own. You will make mistakes, plenty of them in fact. The key is to remember that you are in control and can turn these bad choices into a good education. You are not defined by where you fail, but how you use that failure to create something even greater than before.

Nobody is Keeping Score

That's right, there is no scorecard for the mistakes that we make, just like there's no one handing out gold stars for when we have a really exceptionally productive day. What this translates to is that we have to become our own greatest assets as opposed our worst enemy. Not dwelling on my bad decisions or the times that I've misstepped and focusing all of my energy on what I've accomplished and what the next hurdle is - that is how I move onward. I can't waste time over-analyzing the things I've done in the past wishing I could have done something differently. Without them, I might not be where I am today.