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Learning From Our Mistakes

My son-in-law has challenged me to write about how to come back from mistakes. It made sense. Of course! Readers want encouragement on how to move on, how to make beauty from the ash heap they have created. I agree, after screwing up, we can be very down on ourselves, and we can easily spend time beating ourselves up. I have lived this.

I have many examples of creating heaps of ashes–chaos! If you have read my blogs, you are familiar with the ash pile I made out of our marriage. However, I would like to share another one I made, one that changed how I perform as an employee:

I was working for a janitorial service while going to college. One morning I overslept and did not go in to clean one of the accounts I was responsible for. As a result, the client called my boss and reported that the building had not been cleaned. Subsequently, he called me, asked why I didn’t clean it, and proceeded to fire me on the spot. You see, my aunt got me that job, my boss was a good friend of hers, and I not only let him down, I let my aunt down, and I let down the client by showing I was irresponsible.

This mistake caused me to realize that my actions impact myself and others.  I alone was responsible, no one else to blame. I blew it, suffered the consequences and moved on. I learned from my mistake and became a better employee. Granted, that example is minor compared to many, but it demonstrates what can come of a mistake–a changed person. Actually, if you become better because of it I don’t see it as a mistake, but as a life lesson.


What I hear most of the time when someone messes up is:

  • “it wasn’t my fault”
  • “the devil made me do it
  • “so and so did it, I’m not the only one”
  • “it only happened once”
  • “it’s no big deal”
  • “I wouldn’t have done this if …”


We generally don’t take responsibility for our actions, we give excuses or try and justify them, or we beat ourselves up. It’s as old as time. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve and God, and Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:12&13), they kept passing the buck. Neither took responsibility and both hid themselves. I am a big proponent for taking responsibility. Let’s agree to be man enough to take responsibility and move forward.

Let’s be men, stand up and own up!

Let’s prove to be men willing to stand in the gap and be found sufficient (Ezekiel 22:30; Daniel 6:4).

One blog is not going to address how to recover from messing up. This is a multifaceted topic. I will write my thoughts on many things I believe it takes to rise from the ashes. This will certainly be a series. As I post my thoughts, please provide your comments, enter the conversation to keep it interesting, provide stimulating ideas for me, generate thoughts for others, and provide a more interesting dialog over all.

If you have a question about something you can’t get past, a road block, please ask it. Click on the comment button below.