Big mistakes and failures don't have to define you!

You Made ONE Mistake!

Leadership Development


All of us make mistakes daily.

Often personal mistakes are overlooked or ignored, a spelling error, a conversational gaffe. But eventually we have that one big mistake that can hold us back. It cuts us deeply as a person, maybe invokes fear and keeps us from moving forward.

Have you failed to meet a major goal? Gotten fired? Or lost a business? Your mistake may be big enough that people are talking about it in your family. For years my family was defined by a mistake—a mistake big enough to be in the news!

I’m not going to tell you to feel guilty. 

I’m not going to say you can simply get over it. 

I want you to understand you can redeem it, get value from it, and you can—


One big mistake can define you – but it doesn’t have to.

I said, we all have that one big mistake. It defines some part of our life and frames our thoughts and feelings, mostly in a negative way. And the advice people sometimes give to “get over it” is not only useless, but it’s a waste of your time to try!

In the training I provide to young leaders, I will often mentioned the thousands(?) of steps Edison took to claim ownership to the first working light bulb. Of those steps, none produced a lightbulb that was functional. It’s debated if the last one—the basis for his patent—was even functional. But he did not stop! All of those “failures” were discoveries, they were hard earned steps. But altogether his efforts to produce a lightbulb were a mistake… until he produced a lightbulb! Looking back we see clearly that each mistaken step, each investment of more time and money into a failed attempt, was an investment. Each step Edison took may not feel as big as the one failure that owns some part of your personal psyche, but you can—


Consider your failure. Think about your big mistake. Look at the steps it took you to get there. It was not just one event in your life, it was a series of choices and decisions leading you to where you are today. If you reframe the failure in your mind, attach real value to each step and look at the lessons you learned during and afterward, you will see it was no different than every try at the lightbulb.


Now with all of the experimental learning you’ve done, you can move forward. When a new aspect or feeling comes up from that same failure, look for the learning in it. Unpack it with renewed perspective. After a short amount of time, you’ve made what used to be your biggest mistake, holding you back from success, into a solid foundation that you can build on for your next new creation.

Don’t quit until you reach that one success that is the result of your learning. Then you will understand what it was all for. Your success is the natural next step resulting from what looks like failures.


Redeem your mistakes, what you used to think was a failure. Value the lessons you learned. Learn new lessons as you look back at it. See failure as the necessary steps to discover what works and you will change your future.


  • by Daniel RG Crandall, NolensvilleBrands
    (Original content like this article by Daniel of NolensvilleBrands may be purchased for publication on your Website. Ask for details!

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