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“That’s exactly where you want to be: steeped to your eyebrows in failure. It’s a good place to be because failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in . . . failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.” – Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert
A fresh start. A clean slate. A second chance.
Perhaps a relationship has ended, or you have relocated to a new city. Or maybe, you are starting a new job, redecorating a room in your home, reorganizing your files or simply pressing the reset button on any aspect of your life that hasn’t been working or didn’t work out as you had hoped.
While beginning from scratch can feel as though you are a novice again, in reality, you are more of an expert than you realize, should you choose to use your powers.
When you begin again you bring with you the wisdom of what did and did not work, the insight of knowing how something will turn out in particular circumstances and the ability to not waste precious time and energy doing something that won’t provide the results you seek.
Cartoonist Scott Adams reiterates in his article in the WSJ that failure is a tool, not an outcome. So indeed, there is a grand gift in starting over.
How to Start Over Successfully
1. Take Time to Assess
Take the time before moving forward yet again to assess in detail what went well, what didn’t work and why. Write your insights down so that during times of frustration in any new endeavors, you can remind yourself how to overcome the roadblocks that stood in your way the last time. Even a simple change such as switching from a PC to a Mac, begin with assessment to ensure a successful path forward. Write down what went wrong that impeded your ability to work efficiently on your computer. What do you want to make sure your new computer is capable of doing?
2. Be Clear
As you begin again, be clear about what your expectations are. For example, using the computer analogy, “I need a computer that functions properly without wasting my time”. Then, be willing to be flexible about how you get there. Maybe the computer won’t be the size you want because of your budget, but it still offers what you need for productivity. Or maybe you will have to leave the PC world and move to a Mac, or remain with Mac despite your expectations. The key is to know what you need, versus what you want. Knowing the difference will reduce unnecessary headaches and help you achieve your goals at a faster pace. Read this post for inspiration.
3. Have Patience
Simply because you’ve learned some valuable lessons, does not mean the new journey you commence will be free of frustrations. For example, even if the new job is one that you’ve worked towards for years, there will still be a learning curve in understanding the new work environment. Have patience with yourself and don’t throw in the towel too quickly. I have come to define such initial headaches as checkpoints assessing whether or not we are willing to be where we’ve so longed to be. Trust me, just like learning the new operating system of a new high performing computer, it will be worth it when you know how everything works.
4. Remember the Paradox “Great reward, involves great risk.” or “In order to earn money, you have to spend money.”
Both of these maxims are indeed true. In order to change our circumstances, we must venture into the unknown in order to live a different life from what we know today. And when we have the opportunity to start over, it means we are essentially taking a life test – did we learn the lessons offered in order to turn the next opportunity into what it is we seek?
5. Keep Your Courage
The moments of doubt are greatest when we make the initial leap of change – when we do something different from what we’ve done in the past – putting the down payment on your first home, saying “I do”, or taking a loan out for your own business. It is in such moments that you must hang on to the courage it took you to make the initial mistake that provided the lesson. That courage is always there waiting to be tapped, and each time to learn the lesson and pick yourself up to try it again differently and better than before, your strength of courage increases.
Having the opportunity to do something again is the opportunity to do it better and to tailor it to exactly as you’d prefer. Not everything in life offers a second chance. After all, we only get to be 18 once, 34 once, 50 once, and so on. But regardless of our age, when we get the chance to improve, don’t be discouraged by the mistakes in past relationships, past employment, money management or anything that has tripped you up to dog you. Choose to turn the coal into diamonds and be amazed at what life is wanting to reward you with.
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