Sometime I run into people who are really hard on themselves? They beat themselves up for every mistake and they like to keep these mistakes top of mind to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

This sounds like it could be a good strategy, but when you think about focusing on past mistakes most of the time, how does that make you feel?

Do you feel empowered, confident, ready to tackle new challenges? Probably not.

Alright, so let’s get honest about mistakes.

They happen.

They are an opportunity to learn.

The trick is to get the learning from the mistake and move on. What they don’t need to become is ammunition that you can use to undermine your confidence.

Focus on Your Strengths

If you find yourself struggling a bit with this and hitting yourself with a lot of self-criticism, it’s time to spend some time focusing on your strengths. This is a great instant and long-term confidence builder.

If you’re a bit stuck in the past, go ahead and think about somethings that you’d like to do better in the future. At least when you frame it this way, you are focused on the learning and the future and it’s a much more positive exercise.

If you’re still looking backwards, go ahead and think about something that didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped. Now, look at all the things related to this situation that did go well.

Even when things aren’t perfect, there are usually parts of the experience that weren’t a disaster.

Practice giving yourself credit for the things that did go well and enjoy the confidence that comes from this change in focus.


John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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