Sometimes we truly are our own worst enemy. Have you ever made a mistake? One that you kick yourself about, it keeps you up at night and quite frankly, makes you scared of making another mistake? What about a financial mistake? Perhaps you took on too much debt or made a really bad investment. It is far too easy to beat ourselves up about what we may have done wrong, but it can be really really hard to forgive ourselves those mistakes. In fact, far too often people allow the mistakes they may have made to rid them of their confidence. It can be paralyzing. It makes them stuck, unable to move forward, ultimately unable to experience future successes.
If you have made a financial mistake in the past, or, if you find yourself in the future having made one, there are some important steps to help you forgive yourself and move forward.
- Own It – we have to take ownership of our mistakes. Only when you step up and take personal responsibility can you actually move on to step 2.
- Learn From It – with every mistake comes a lesson. If we can learn our lesson, we greatly reduce the likelihood of making the same mistake again. At the same time, we have to identify the right If your mistake was taking on too much debt, the mistake was most likely the too much part, or too much of the wrong kind of debt. Debt wasn’t necessarily the mistake. Debt can be a valuable tool if used properly and responsibly. Just like a “bad” investment isn’t the fault of making an investment, it was perhaps the type or risk of the investment, or some other specific characteristic. The lesson is in the root characteristic of the mistake and not necessarily the general tool. Avoiding debt in the future, or avoiding investments in the future because of a vague lesson learned can actually cause more long term harm than the original mistake itself. For instance, fear of debt may mean you never own your home. Or fear of making reasonable investments keeps you stuck in low risk, low return ones, ultimately compromising your ability to retire comfortably and remain that way. So make sure you identify the right lesson and learn from it.
- Give Yourself Credit – Acknowledge financial decisions you have made that have worked out right. Just like we have all made mistakes, we have all done some things right, too. Give yourself credit where credit is due.
- Keep It In Perspective – Very few mistakes can’t be overcome. Just how badly has this mistake injured you. In 5 years, will this even really matter? So many times it can actually be very small mistake that we beat ourselves up for. And guess what, no matter the size of the mistake, I bet someone has made a bigger one! Just think of all the sports stars and celebrities who literally lost tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions making money mistakes.
- Share It – One of the hardest things to do is to fess up to our mistakes. But if we share it two great things can happen. Firstly, simply sharing it with someone who is supportive of you will help take away the shame. Secondly, you might just help someone avoid making the same mistake you did.
We have all made mistakes. In fact, the road to success is often paved with failures that we have learned from. So as you start your 2020 journey, set yourself up for success. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and allow yourself the freedom to make future ones.