4 Ways to Recognize Your Mistakes



Photo by the author 

The saying goes: “You don’t know what you don’t know…” means that people don’t have enough awareness to know how they are making mistakes.  This may be true in some instances, but many repeated mistakes occur because we are avoiding what we need to do.  Rather than an intellectual or skill deficit, repeated error is an attempt to solve a problem using the same mistaken approach.

Many repeated mistakes occur because we are avoiding what we need to do. 

Pattern Recognition – Many mistakes are repeated cycles or patterns of problem behavior. The problem behavior often happens over and over as if it is a sequence of actions made up of faulty thinking.  We can’t help ourselves, we use the same faulty logic, and repeat the same behaviors – hoping things will change.

Rather than an intellectual or skill deficit, repeated error is an attempt to solve a problem using the same mistaken approach.

The solution lies in recognition – Much like the patchwork of buildings in the photo above, there is a pattern.  Recognizing where you’re falling short in your results requires a willingness to look for more answers.  Obviously, if we can begin to realize we’re not getting the results we want, then we begin the journey of correcting our mistakes.

Recognizing where you’re falling short in your results requires a willingness to look for more answers.  

The ‘pain’ of mistakes increases your ability to recognize a different path can lie ahead.

4 Ways to recognize your mistakes

  • Self-Reflection: Write or journal about the ‘repeated’ sequences and poor outcomes you’re receiving – there is purpose and a reason behind the mistakes.

There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are given to us to learn from. 

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

  • Exercise Humility: Ask someone close to you if they see a problem pattern – what do they see?
  • Ask Yourself: What am I doing repeatedly to get the same result?
  • What do others do to get different results?

Repeated sequences create similar results.  What behaviors in your life may be repeated mistakes?


Advertisements

Guidelines for Working Through Personal Conflict & Doubt



Photo by the author 

Personal conflict impacts everyone.  There are competing concerns, dilemmas, and contradictory thoughts that create stress and doubt.

Conflict is essentially a ‘Wish’ and a ‘Fear’.  What we wish for has a corresponding fear.

Stress and doubt can be enduring and stifle productivity and healthy choices.  The ways conflict impacts us can lead to:

  1. Missed opportunities 
  2. Avoidance
  3. Unhealthy coping behaviors 
  4. Not fulfilling our capacity 

Moving beyond doubt – Realize that your strength is that you can name the fear that drives your conflict.  The fear keeps our capacity to act at a standstill.  

Learn to confront your fear – is your fear based on the past or failure?  Is it a realistic fear, or are you simply avoiding something that you need to move ahead on?

Many ‘wishes’ to move ahead are squelched by the fears we create. 

Refusing to acknowledge our fears, or doing something about them will result in a self-perpetuating cycle of indecision and doubt.

Moving through doubt- 

  1. Identify what you really want
  2. Write down the fears that led to conflict with what you want
  3. Write down the reasons why you think what you want is so important 
  4. Consider whether the fear is worth the time you’re putting it it
  5. Identify what evidence you have for the fear 

The fear you have means something, and explains more about your perceived weaknesses, or about unmet needs

Getting Through the Bad By Finding the Good

Photo by the author

Working through the problem requires you to first find what is working

Learning to find the good is often the last thing you look for.  The overarching magnitude of the problem will often squelch out things that are happening well.

3 Ways to find the good through the bad

  1. Reflect on times when the bad isn’t happening.  What does that look like, and what is happening in/or/around you?
  2. Who is a resource that can help you?
  3. What is the bad teaching you about what you really want?

Find your good 

The good isn’t just going to walk up to you and tap you on the shoulder.  It requires discovery on your part.  Thinking critically about what you have is the best way to see yourself through the difficulties.

Ways to discover the good 

  1. Reverse engineer- How is this working well for others?
  2. Take stock – How am I doing well here?
  3. What was working before?
  4. What are my preferred results?
  5. How did I get there before?
  6. What assistance do I need?

There is a good on the other side of the bad.  It just requires some effort to begin identifying it, and maintain the confidence that the good is out there.  Take some time and do some inventory of the good that might be around the corner from the bad.

Preventing What Matters from Drifting Away

20150228-094215.jpg
(Photo by the author)

It is very easy to get caught up in activities that gradually erode and pull you away from what really matters. The more successful and effective you are, the higher the risk of being pulled away from what really defines importance for you.

Over the years, there is a lot of literature that talks about defining what matters in your life. If you can move activities and intentions toward what matters, then results you desire should follow. The act of defining what matters is not as easy as it sounds. The busier you are, the more important roles you play in others’ lives, and the more skilled you are, the higher likelihood you will actually be pulled from what matters. Defining what matters becomes blurry because of the massive demands you face because of success and talent.

How do you keep what matters from drifting away?

1. Being involved in more, is going to lead to more drift. Depending on the important roles you provide, you might be in too may roles.

2. Define what roles, experiences, and priorities that are most important. Instead of defining this along the generic roles of “family”, “my work”, “my children”, get more specific. Think intuitively about your experiences through the week. What brought joy, what didn’t? What are you really wanting to do more of, that isn’t happening. This is where you start your working definitions.

3. Look at what provides value. What is not providing much value? How is your resources spent, is there some things that are cutting away your priorities, and interests?

4. Graph it. Define where you are spending your time, and do an activity analysis for a month. Record your moods, at different points. An easy way would be to use your calendar. Place notes about your experience after each activity is done. This “mini-journal” will help you define what is important, and where you are drifting away.

Take your time with the process. Remember you didn’t get this way overnight. Understanding drift from what matters may take some time.

The Importance of Brevity

When is too much, too much?

20140330-191439.jpg

Photo by the author

Complexity is often a function of a number of things:

1. ) Obscuring the message.
2.) Creating an air of superiority
3.) A lack of knowledge
4.) Not knowing what to look for

Simplicity’s Impact
Developing a simplicity approach is often desirable and presents more information and insight than communicating a complex message. It may seem a paradox, but the shorter, and more focused a message is, the more the message carries.

Knowing what to look for
Knowing what to look for is an important precursor to knowing what to communicate in a simplified and targeted way. Inexperience in knowing what is important, leads to the need to communicate more information than what is needed, and likely an uncertainty in the communication.

Ways to build brevity into your life
1. Avoid constant second guessing. Learn to trust your intuition.
2. Build skills where you identify your weaknesses.
3. Learn more about what you’re working with. Increased knowledge brings with it increased ability to simplify what you are saying.
4. Where further information is needed, you can expand the message.

When working with new employees, and individuals learning in an area for the first time, be patient, and teach the skill of brevity. Anxiety about a situation needs to be managed. Keeping in mind that having all the information is not necessarily desirable, and that follow up can be a regular and routine part of the communication process.>

Expectations and the Art of Transparency

20140329-235237.jpg
Photo by the author

One of the challenges of communicating is managing expectations. Expectations can be “managed” per se, if the message communicated is clear and is free of residual meanings.

The idea of Transparency clarifies what one can expect. The alternative usually results in:

1. Co-dependent communication where we are simply saying what we think others want to hear.
2. Manipulation. We are saying something in purpose that is not really real.
3. Excuse making. We have to justify our positions rather than own them.

How many of us have been in any of these positions?

Making our communication explicit communicates a level of respect for others, even if it is not the kind of message we would prefer to present, or what others would want to hear. Being transparent, means that we are willing to take the appropriate risk to communicate true meanings, specific opinions, and bare bones knowledge, that leaves no questions, and leads not to misconstrued messages, which lead to unmet expectations.

Ways of being transparent
We exercise transparency, when we say what we mean. We help others with hard truths. It may not be immediately comfortable, but it communicates an understanding and reality to others, that suggests that you respect the other person despite the message itself. It also saves you a lot of further defensiveness and justification later, when others “find out” what the factual reality really is.

When Helping is Not Helping

20140224-112111.jpg

Having the desire to help others is the calling that brings many into the “helping professions.” For others, it is the day to day service that we do for our families, children and others we work for/or/with.

There is a fine line however when helping is not really helping, but rather a barrier that leads to stagnation or worse yet, fosters an unhealthy dependence.

Indicators of when helping is NOT helping:
1. When the help we provide is not accepted by others

The term I’ve used for years is when helping leads to “help rejecting complainers.” When our helping leads others to excuse themselves of embracing the help, then rejecting it, or avoiding it. This is not a judgment of our help or our intent, but of others’ readiness to change. They may simply not see the same way as you do. They may not value the same things.

2. When the help leads others to make the same poor decisions

Any change effort has to be embraced as well as given. It is hard to understand why what would seem to be needed, is often not chosen by another, and is rejected. The help that is given, only leads others to choose the same poor path. It is helpful to preferably accept that sometimes others are either not ready, have other motivations, or are too fearful to accept the implications of a change.

3. Fear

One of the biggest factors is the fear of the unknown or that accepting the help will actually lead to new experiences. Unless there is great fortitude to change, and a readiness, we will not embrace the help or opportunities provided without an “experience” that drives them toward embracing them. Sadly, fear is the final determinant to changing. We “fear” something else, and it leads to a crisis…which then leads to receiving help. Sometimes humans react when there is a need for rescue, rather than prevention.

Don’t take it personal
Helping others doesn’t always lead to successful results. It is nothing personal, but you will fail to provide others help they need. It is a joint venture not an individual helping effort. Developing a “preference” to see others change rather than an attitude that others “must” change or accept help is a good starting point for the helper which can prevent burnout.

Thoughts:
Are there times when you don’t accept help? Why?

(Photo: By the author)

Effective People Live, Not Just Survive

20131102-104943.jpg
Photo by the Author

What people do you admire in your everyday life, and why?.

This simple but profound question is the best way to start the deep reflective work to better evaluate the current path you’re heading.

It is possible to say –
I can think of a handful of individuals that I admire not because what they do, nor because they are famous. They are effective in their daily lives, happy, content, and productive. They have a path that is clearly mission driven, and not based on the social mirror, other people’s evaluations and external expectations or even their jobs. Some of these individuals have passed, but when you reflect on their lives, you just know they lived it effectively, because obviously I would like to have more of what they have…

If you are thinking about being different, then that is the first step. People that don’t even think about their path, end up surviving, not living. Even those that have resources and fame have the capacity to just survive.

Surviving is:
1. Living someone else’s potential.
2. Not working in concert with the truly important things in your life.
3. Existing physically, but mentally altered, distracted, “zoned out.”
4. Operating in a constant state of reaction. “Chasing your tail.”
5. Staying in co-dependent, addictive relationships and circumstances.

If you have “lost yourself”, you are just surviving. Physically you are there, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally you may only be firing on one cylinder.

Become a person who lives:
1. Confront and eliminate unhealthy dynamics or patterns in your live. Take one at a time.
2. Discover what is important about you. Only you know you.
3. Talk to others about yourself, find out how others see you.
4. Align with what is important. That may mean giving up parts of the old you.

The line between living and just surviving is sometimes hard to detect. You have to search for it, and identify the barriers that are keeping you from becoming what you can be.

The Importance of Simple Things

20131002-230940.jpg
Photo by the author –

An ever present reality is that individuals are engaged in the act of being busy, or survival. “Survival” does not necessarily mean living, but rather existing.

A complex issue in today’s society is how immersed we are in doing, being, running, and reacting. How much do we miss around us? Is the mere act of being important, busy, and immersed in the activity around us, dulling our sense of what is important?

Simple Things
Simple things are around us, and we take them for granted. They invite us to engage, but our addiction to be important, depended upon, provided attention, or surviving dulls our sensitivity to the simple things that can bring an appreciation for our lives.

Like the child playing in the sand…how much do we allow ourselves to play in the sand?

Do We:
1. Look at the clouds?
2. Look at nature around us?
3. Identify what is important to us, as opposed to multiple “stake holders” who don’t recognize our efforts?
4. Read what is important to us? Pursue our dreams?

Or do we simply live, and engage other people’s dreams? When we become dulled to the simple things that are meaningful in life, we are just surviving. On the surface, we are looking, feeling, and being important, but inside we may be just existing.

ACTION ITEM: WHAT ARE WE ALLOWING TO GO BY US? WHY ARE WE JUST SURVIVING, WHEN WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE?