How to Move On From a Bad Decision
They say that the more mistakes you make, the more successful you become. That might be true, but you must deal with your bad decisions effectively before you can move forward. There’s a process to making the most of your wrong choices.
If you can benefit from your right decisions and your wrong decisions, life is easy! Unfortunately, our natural instincts make it challenging to benefit from wrong choices. We become upset, distract ourselves, withdraw, feel embarrassed, or give up altogether.
When you can benefit from wrong decisions, there are no wrong decisions!
Consider these strategies:
- Learn the lesson. Every wrong decision has a lesson to teach. It can be painful to examine your wrong choices. Do you know what’s even more painful? Making the same mistake again. Take a little time to figure out what you can learn from your unwise decision.
- Move on. There’s nothing to be gained by dwelling on your mistakes. A wrong decision that you’ve never made before isn’t a bad thing. It’s just life.
- Take responsibility. You were part of the problem. There’s no getting around it. Taking responsibility allows you to retain control of the situation. You made the mess, so you can fix it.
- Talk it out. If you can’t let go of your mistake, spend some time talking with a loyal friend. An outsider often has a more reasonable perspective. Pick up the phone and give someone a call.
- Stay present. It’s easy to let your mind run wild after making a wrong choice. There’s nothing to see there. It’s hard to stay in the present moment when things are going wrong all around you. Allowing your mind to wander is just a form of distraction. Pay attention to what is happening right now.
- Take preventative measures in the future. How can you prevent a similar occurrence in the future? Did you put yourself into a situation where no good option existed? Or did you merely make the wrong call?
- Remember what you still have. You may have lost your business or partner, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Take a moment to remind yourself of the wonderful things you still have.
- Forgive yourself. Everyone makes more than a few mistakes. Accept the consequences of your choice and move forward. It’s impossible to always make perfect decisions.
- Remember that your next right decision will feel that much better. A vacation only feels good because you contrast it with work. Spend six months in a Florida condo and see how excited you still are. Your bad decisions make your right decisions that much more enjoyable.
- You are not your decisions. You are separate from the choices you make. Bad choices don’t make you bad any more than good decisions make you good. Your decisions don’t define you.
Bad decisions aren’t all that bad after all. In fact, you can benefit from all your previous bad choices right now. Make a list of every wrong decision you’ve ever made. Now, go through the process of learning from each of them. What are the lessons you can learn? Imagine if you had done this same process after each mistake was made. Your life would be very different.
Everyone makes bad decisions. The key is to make the most of them. Spend a few minutes each week reviewing your bad choices and learning from them. Most importantly, avoid repeating them. Move on from your bad decisions and benefit from them.
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Thanks and take care,
I'm an award-winning Fortune 500 executive with over 30 years of experience, including tenures at The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, and Ralston Purina. On top of that, I am a Numerica Corporation co-owner and board of directors member, published author, and a John Maxwell Team certified speaker, trainer, and executive coach.
My learnings and lessons are not drawn from the classroom of academic theory but from the crucible of marketplace trenches. I share my hard-earned experience with audiences to help them, their teams, and organizations become the best version of themselves.
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