Failure is the Greatest Teacher: Learning From Your Mistakes

When I first started my business back in December of 2007, I made a lot of mistakes. I did some really dumb things, which ended up costing me valuable time, money, or both.

I was pretty hard on myself when this happened. I would beat myself up about it.

neil gaiman quote mistakes

Happily, as time has gone on, my attitude about making mistakes has changed. What I found was that making mistakes wasn’t the end of the world. Nobody died, thank goodness. And my business remained intact, and did not fail, despite my rookie mistakes. I started to light-heartedly refer to them as “A.F.L.E.” or “another f***ing learning experience.”

And, I got smarter. I started to create systems so that the mistakes I made previously wouldn’t happen again. In other words, I learned from my mistakes, and that made me better. We’re often afraid to risk making a mistake.

I get it. No one likes to look dumb, or foolish, or like they don’t know what they are doing. But risk is inherent in our lives, and nothing great comes without getting out of your comfort zone. I remember so clearly the first time I had sushi. I was freaked out a bit by the idea of eating raw fish. But I took the risk, and I loved it. In fact, raw tuna to this day is one of my favourite foods.

You gotta bust out of your comfort zone, as scary as that may be.

eleanor Roosevelt quote on mistakes

Lately, though, I’m trying to take my “failure is the best teacher” attitude to the next level. Eleanor Roosevelt famously said “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

One really wonderful trend I’m noticing in my world right now is that people who are involved in making their living through social media are actually putting income reports online. This is something really new. In the past, it was, I think, considered really rude to talk about money, and so much of the “money” talk was purposely vague and sometimes downright misleading. If you want to sell a product, or if you want people to think that you are successful, you say something vague, like you “make a six-figure income.” But this is hard to prove, and maybe your income fluctuates month by month. Mostly, business owners would be afraid that someone else would steal their ideas.

There are several bloggers and podcasters that are taking this bald, honest transparency to another level, and publishing each month how much money they make, and where their streams of income come from. Check out Entrepreneur on Fire, Smart Passive Income, and Pinch of Yum. It’s an amazing learning experience. And incredibly risky for those guys to really put it all out there. They are to be deeply commended.

What are the best mistakes learning experiences you’ve had? Please share in the comments below.



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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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