Why Mistakes Can Be Total Magic

Maxie texted me the other week about a “mistake” she had made. (I use the word lightly because I don’t even consider it a mistake so much as a learning lesson!) She was sort of beating herself up over it and totally didn’t have to. Was it an ideal situation? Nope! But she made the best decision she could with the information that she had at the time.

Max and I have seen each other through various mistakes over the years, and I think it’s always a testament to our resiliency when we both bounce back gracefully.


Why Mistakes Can Be Total Magic

Guest post by Maxie McCoy

There’s only one person that makes it through life without making mistakes: the person who never lived. If we’re actively engaged in our life– trying things, creating things, stepping in and stepping up– then a natural byproduct of getting it right for ourselves will most definitely be getting it wrong. And sometimes, very very wrong.

I’ve had a week full of “oh wow, what a major miss” moments. Because some things came to light that I couldn’t have predicted but made sense in hindsight (it’s always 20/20). And I put too much faith in recommendations and opinions of people other than myself, even when I knew something was off. Luckily, Carly provided some much-needed pick-me-up texts when I needed them most. Because no matter how many positives come out of it, when we screw up or get screwed over, missteps never feel great at the moment.

However, mistakes are always there to show us more clearly who we are, who we’re becoming, and what we’re made of. They’re where we learn– which is why we shouldn’t fear the big screw ups. Rather, we can welcome them as major leaps in our development. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been more determined to ace a test than when I flopped on the last one. I’ve never been more dead set on getting a project right as when the last one flopped. I’ve never desired to right something so much as when I’ve previously gotten it wrong.

Mistakes give us fire with which we get to mold our future actions. And so much more.

Aside from having something to learn from, mistakes also give us something to share. I was recently asked, “What’s more interesting – walking down the road, taking in the beautiful path, OK in the end? Or walking down the road and getting charged by a bull and twisting your ankle from a hole in the road as you ran away?” Naturally, the latter. Always the latter.

When things go wrong, and you’re in pain from the situation and feeling the anxiety and the fear of what’s happened, you not only learn how to deal and push forward, but you have a treasure chest of valuable lessons that can help other people. Whether it’s sharing with your friends, your classmates, your colleagues, or your younger siblings, others learn the most from what went wrong for us, not from what went right. In the wrong-ness is the really good, really interesting, really valuable story.

It’s why when I’m at conferences, listening to interviews, or watching people on panels – I always want to to know about the things that went wrong. That’s where the golden nuggets and the super interesting story is. So remember, your current mistakes will indeed become your future teachings and dinnertime stories.

And finally, when mistakes happen you’ll be able to look back and see where you ignored your insights, your own opinions, your desires, and your knowledge. It’s where screw ups happen the most; when we tune out of our truth and into someone else’s. When you can look back and see how it happened, look forward and ensure that you do your best to keep it from happening the same way again– by staying as close and as quiet with your gut feelings as you can. Because you know, you always know.

No matter what happened, how it happened, or why it happened… your mistakes are making you who you are, and they’re informing so much more future magic than you can possibly imagine. Trust that, and be as kind and compassionate with yourself as you can. Because you’re not your mistakes.

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Iowa Girl

Great, positive post for those of us who have felt, at times, paralyzed by past mistakes.


Goodness Carly!
Your post today -rang- true to me . . . Wow. Thank you.

“And I put too much faith in recommendations and opinions of people other than myself, even when I knew something was off.”
“Because you’re not your mistakes.”


I needed to see this today. My mistake has been pursuing the wrong career path. I’ve been struggling to move past it and figure out a way around it but due to financial pressures, I feel even more stuck.

I need to stop beating myself up but it’s so hard. I’m owning the fact that I made these choices but I wish I had more confidence in myself to make the correct decision next time.