The upside of making mistakes….no, really, there is one

Today, a wonderful post from the vivacious Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades, founder of Power Chicks, a networking community for heart-centered women entrepreneurs and rockstars. I loved the lessons in this post so much, I asked her if we could share it. Enjoy!

Mistakes hurt.

Make one, and you get that yucky pit in your stomach. Often, it comes with a smack upside the noggin and a super-sized side of self-doubt.

Weird thing, though. Let those ouchy errors teach you and, amazingly, glitches become guidance. (Tweet this!)


When I expanded Power Chicks from a grassroots group to a business, I hired a consulting company to help me create a profit plan. Theirs was a “we decide the business model, you implement it” approach rather than a collaborative venture pairing their experience with my style.

This match unfortunately (yet logically) mirrored one of my crabbiest, most persistent inner critic’s voice: Other people know what to do better than you do.

Suckered in by Crabby Pants, I began to implement a business plan heaped with hard work, void of what felt easy and good (i.e., my natural talents and skills) and exhausting albeit in an exhilarating way. Pain was gain in my quest for success and the millions of dollars I would soon be making.

After many months of this, I was tired. Really tired. Exhilaration was out. Exhaustion was in.

Without being guided by my own inner strength and intuition, I had lost my way. Not only was the direction for my business one that bored me to tears, I was miserable.


Before I became an entrepreneur, I commuted 3 hours a day to a Fortune 500 company housed in a building called The Tower where I was cloistered in a gray cubical with a beige computer surrounded by pallid yellow walls. (Whew.) I left to create a life I loved.

This was not it.

With angst over thousands of wasted dollars seemingly burned in a bonfire quenched only by buckets of tears (oh, the drama!), I ended the consulting relationship.  With it, I scraped a year’s worth of work.

It took two months of radical self-care and many conversations with colleagues to begin to heal. But with that time came a fresh perspective on what I needed my business to look like.

Sustainable. Wholeheartedly sustainable. That meant money-wise, yes, of course. But viable in a much holistic way: a business congruent with who I am as a powerful woman with my own unique gifts, talents and desires. A business congruent with my energy on all levels — emotionally, mentally, even soulfully. A business congruent with strengths arising from the core of my being.

BAM. What a relief!

I saw where I’d gone wrong — I’d neglected myself to build something based on external input rather than allowing own values and wisdom to support my direction.

Fast forward to today.

Since then, I’ve found mentors who value collaborative planning as I move toward financial sustainability. This is a process, for sure! Yet this pathway is vastly more effective than disconnecting from myself. And when I step out of what deeply matters? Thanks to a commitment to myself and trusted allies to whom I turn again and again, I find my way back to center.

When someone recently asked on Facebook, “How do you stay so completely wholehearted and authentic in business?” my answer came lickety-split.

By making a mistake. (Tweet this!)


Photo credit: Peter Lindberg, Flikr

Do you agree? What is one big (or small) mistake you’ve made with your business, book or project that taught you more than you could ever imagine? Please share in the Comments!

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