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Learning From Mistakes: Three Lessons to Clear the Path to Success

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When you first entered the working world after college, chances are you made mistakes that taught you about who you are, who you want to be, and what it takes to be successful. These mistakes are a natural part of professional development; any successful businessperson has made his or her fair share of errors in building a career. The takeaways from these mistakes, however, are some of the most important lessons you will learn as you pursue your professional journey. Here are three skills I have developed from my own mistakes along the way, which continue to guide me in my path forward.

1. Learn to manage change. Failing to adapt to changes you cannot control is a mistake that can really cost you. Change is one of the only constants in the universe, so keep yourself as prepared as possible. This goes for changes of any size; indeed, the small, gradual evolutions are just as important as the sudden ones. Take some time out of your day to think on what could be, as well all of the variables that could yield one result or another, and you'll automatically find yourself more prepared for the challenges of the future. More importantly, always keep your eyes focused on what is coming. You cannot avoid a pothole without scouting the terrain ahead of you first. Managing change is equal parts preparation and perception, with both requiring the right attitude to move forward.

2. Keep an open mind to new possibilities. Once you've prepared yourself for the inevitable shifts in your career, begin to welcome these changes like old friends. Behind change often lies fresh possibility, and being open to change reveals these opportunities that would otherwise never be uncovered. These new challenges can easily be used as motivation to improve yourself or learn a new set of skills. By contrast, being resistant to unexpected opportunities is a mistake that may lead to unnecessary regret.

3. Look at the big picture. While it is important to handle the day-to-day work of your job with focus and skill, it is also necessary to think about where you are headed every once and a while. Perspective is invaluable, and allowing yourself to zoom out is an integral part of planning for success. Visualize how your current situation fits into the larger picture of your career, and use this widened perspective to inform your short-term business moves. With too narrow a focus on the day-to-day functions, you may make moves that yield short-term gains at the expense of long-term plans. Avoid this mistake, and you're setting yourself up for a professional career to be proud of.

No one starts out successful. Success is an experiment that comes with plenty of trial and error; it is built as you learn from mistakes along your path to personal and professional development. Take your experiences, both good and bad, and use them to your advantage. And, inevitably, you'll find levels of success you never thought possible.