Advice, Breakthroughs, Careers, Challenges, Empowerment, Featured, Inspiration for Change, Inspiring Thoughts, Kathy Caprino, Living Real, Tips for Empowerment, Uncategorized, Women in Business My 52 Mistakes Written by: Kathy Caprino
Share on Facebook1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn9Google+1Share on StumbleUpon0Pin on Pinterest0Digg thisShare on Reddit0Email to someone

(Or: How I’m Turning My Mess into a Message Every Day)

Bottom line – “Embracing and loving who I am and what I’ve done is not a fixed state – it’s a long work in progress.”

As many of my friends know, I’ve immersed myself in a 9-year life reinvention, and shifted from a miserable and chronically ill corporate professional to an author, consultant, speaker and entrepreneur who absolutely loves what she does for a living and what she’s focused on, despite the enormous challenges.

It’s been one heck of a ride, with pitfalls, bumps, highs and transformations, that I barely recognize myself from the individual I was 10 years ago.  The core essence of me is still there, of course, but there’s been so much shifting and morphing that now I see much more clearly what I truly value and need to have in my life and work and family experience.  I “get” myself a lot more deeply than I did before.

The other day, I was talking to a new friend, Justin Krane, about some of the mistakes I made in business and in life, and he mentioned that he’d be really interested in hearing my top ten mistakes in business.  And that got me thinking…

So I’ve decided to come clean with My 52 Mistakes.

Today, I’m starting a new blog/vlog project called “My 52 Mistakes” Project. These are the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my life and work thus far. I want to share them so you won’t feel alone in your mistakes, and you can learn from mine.  (I’ve created a new Facebook page for My 52 Mistakes, so please join me there and add your stories!).

The goal of the My 52 Mistakes Project is to give brief look at the havoc each mistake wreaked in my life, and the breakthrough that emerged from it, so my mistakes can be of use to others.  I’m also hoping this will provide a needed, open forum for women around the world to candidly share their mistakes, what they’ve learned, and how they’ve grown and healed from them.

For this project to help as many people as I hope it will, I need more than just my experiences, I need yours – your stories, lessons, mistakes and breakthroughs – I need it all!  We’ve spent a good deal of time here together building our community, and now we can help each other with our collective wisdom. 

Which of these mistakes resonates for you?  What other mistakes would you add to your list?  Show me your lists, and tell me your top three.  (We’re getting honest here people!)  And please pass this along to anyone you know who’s committed to learning from mistakes and experiencing breakthrough.  Comment here or email me.

Let’s do this together!  Let’s turn our messes into messages of honesty, forgiveness, and acceptance.  I hope I”ll see you the Facebook page My 52 Mistakes.   And all along the way, know that I love you, my friends – mistakes, warts and all!  xo

Here goes…

My 52 Mistakes…

As a professional…

1) Letting my ego lead me around by the nose

2) Believing the myth, “Build It and They Will Come”

3) Letting the “pendulum effect” rule my life (Waiting too long to take action, then being devastated and running to the opposite extreme)

4) Spending too much money on my business before learning how to earn

5) Listening to people who claimed to be experts but who are in fact full of s—t

6) Putting all my eggs in the Plan A basket without having a Plan B

7) Holding back from sharing my insights, wisdom, and knowledge for fear I’ll give too much away for free

 8) Not listening enough to my instincts and my gut feelings about people and directions

9) Ignoring my husband when he said, “This is not working!!”

10) Running around thinking I’m God’s gift to the world

11) Wasting time in the company of people I don’t adore and respect

12) Comparing myself to others instead of figuring out exactly what I want to offer, to whom, and why

13) Staying too long in a job I hated, not realizing it will, eventually, hate me back

14) Hiding from my fears instead of getting in the cage with them

15) Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome (thanks, Einstein!)

16) Taking on a narcissistic “goliath” expecting to be a successful “David”

17) Remaining in toxic, miserable situations believing that I had good reasons to do so

18) Letting my salary define me

19) Feeling like an “impostor” because of my flaws and mistakes

20) Thinking that this just “happened” to me– not realizing I co-created it

As an author/writer…

21) Believing I’d get rich writing a book

22) Launching my book and work into a vacuum

23) Letting my accomplishments blind me

24) Thinking my personal story was enough to generate a bestselling book

25) Mistaking myself for a writer when I wasn’t writing and reading every day

26) Longing for national recognition from writing a book

27) Being overly attached to one idea, approach, or outcome that I thought was amazing (as journalists say, it’s time to “kill the baby”)

28) Keeping the truth from myself about, “What do I want, and what do I really want?” from my writing and my work

29) Not having had the guts to say what I mean – to a whole slew of people

30)  Being wholly unprepared for the transformational process of writing and launching my book

As a coach/therapist…

31) Believing the hype of “experts” about the earning potential of coaching (sorry folks, there’s very little money in it)

32) Not having sufficiently powerful boundaries to protect myself from the pain of helping people who are suffering

33) Letting people walk all over me because I felt badly for them

34) Wasting months not liking my therapy work but thinking I should (if you don’t like it, you’re not supposed to be doing it!)

35) Believing having my own coaching business would be an easy way out of my miserable corporate job

36) Not understanding,” If you don’t LOVE your clients, you don’t love your work”

37) Stuffing myself into another person’s “model for change” when I wanted to create my own

38) Not healing my wounds sufficiently before being in service of others

39) Coddling my clients instead of helping them turn their mess around by themselves

40) Limiting myself to seeing only one way to make a living

As a woman…

41) Wasting precious time not speaking up for myself

42) Waiting for my Prince to come and rescue me (and being really pissed off when I realized my husband wasn’t the Prince)

43) Letting my mistakes devastate me

44) Being exactly the perfectionistic overfunctioner that I write about

45) Spending more time complaining about my situation than changing it

46) Worrying about polarizing people and alienating other women (it happens – get over it)

47) Not accepting that having it all means I’m working non-stop and so busy that my head’s going to explode

48) Waiting too long to find amazing, awesome people to connect and engage with

49) Believing I didn’t need or want great female role models

50) Letting my gender, generation, upbringing, traumas, cultural baggage, beliefs, fears (my “whatever”) keep me from accomplishing what I wanted to

As a human being on this planet today…

51) Listening to my mind to the exclusion of my heart and soul

52) Not understanding until my forties that I’m unique, special and powerful and can make the difference I long to make

*  *  *  *

OK, friends, your turn!  Please share your top mistakes on My 52 Mistakes on Facebook, and what you’ve learned from them below or email me at Kathy@kathycaprino.com.  Let’s get this going!  (Special thanks to my dear friend Krista Carnes for getting me going!)

You’re awesome for sharing! xo

Share on Facebook1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn9Google+1Share on StumbleUpon0Pin on Pinterest0Digg thisShare on Reddit0Email to someone

41 thoughts on “My 52 Mistakes”

  1. Kathy,
    This morning, prior to reading your list, as I was driving my kids to school today, this thought kept turning over and over in my mind and perhaps it is #53 for some women.

    Thinking I had to be all things to all people. Great mom, great wife (and ex-wife), great sister, great daughter, great employee, great business owner, great cook, great chauffeur, great hostess, great landscaper, great housecleaner, great networker, great (fill in the blank).

    I must have missed the meeting where the decision was made that women had to be these “uber-creatures” capable of super-human strength and skills. What happened with being an ‘ok’ cook and an ‘ok’ person? Why must we strive to be perfect and stress ourselves out? Time to end this or the only people that will get rich are the therapists!

    Thanks for the great post and for sharing this.

    1. So true, Jennifer. We think we have to be all things to all people and be perfect at that. Learning to love and accept much less than perfect – now that’s a great gift. Thanks!

  2. Love your list, Kathy. Thanks for being brave and honest enough to share it. Of course I was nodding my head at a bunch. What’s life for if not to learn and evolve from all our experiences.

    Trying to add a few lessons I didn’t see:

    Realizing that some friendships flounder and it’s not my fault.
    Learning that stretching for a goal and falling short still puts me miles ahead of not trying at all.
    The importance of putting myself first (occasionally!!).
    and its corollary: The importance of saying “NO” and meaning it.
    Finding that there are opportunities in people and places EVERYWHERE, if you are just open enough to look for them.
    Helping others does feel good and is great karma as long as it doesn’t drain you dry.
    Being the kind of friend you would like to have should be reward enough for you, if not for others.
    Nothing is perfect; there are no guarantees; if you have a hunch, just go for it. Or shut up already.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Karen. I love your list too! My fav- “Shut up already!” Appreciate your openness.

  3. What a great list Kathy! Yes, you are very brave to post it!

    Here’s are a few of mine:
    – Being too perfectionistic and consequently being afraid to get stuff done
    – Getting too wrapped up in kids’ lives; let them own their successes and failures
    – Not taking care of myself
    – Saying no to stuff we don’t want to do – getting better at this one!
    – Be grateful!

  4. Kathy – These were amazing. Makes me think I have 152 mistakes! My biggest one was not joining a mastermind group. I didnt want to be stretched and held accountable to what I really wanted. I finally got around to doing it and i have made more progress in 5 months than I have made in 5 years!

  5. I always say I only made 3 mistakes in my life – everything else was just a learning experience. They were got married too young, got into credit card debt, and bought a white kitchen floor! And my mother warned me about all 3.

  6. Thank you so much for your candor. It helped calm that inner voice that says you are the only one that can know what you are feeling/thinking/doing. Your list is great, especially ‘letting my mistakes devastate me” and “staying too long at a job I hated” – as a Design/Build general contractor, sometimes you clearly see, either before or just after the contract is signed, that the client is going to be difficult and you’re not going to have any fun working with them or doing the job. That is the time to cut the ties, not months later after taking abuse, being used, and then blamed for everything! Most of our clients are terrific, and the bond we make at first meeting only grows richer.

    I am printing out your list and putting it where I can scan it from time to time,, just as a reminder!

  7. Thank you so much for your candor. It helped calm that inner voice that says you are the only one that can know what you are feeling/thinking/doing. Your list is great, especially ‘letting my mistakes devastate me" and "staying too long at a job I hated" – as a Design/Build general contractor, sometimes you clearly see, either before or just after the contract is signed, that the client is going to be difficult and you’re not going to have any fun working with them or doing the job. That is the time to cut the ties, not months later after taking abuse, being used, and then blamed for everything! Most of our clients are terrific, and the bond we make at first meeting only grows richer.

    I am printing out your list and putting it where I can scan it from time to time,, just as a reminder!

    1. Thanks, Jane. Love your comments. And isn’t it so true – we often get a sense immediately that a certain potential client will make our lives miserable, but so often we don’t have the courage to walk away. Let’s help each other access that internal fortitude to say to ourselves, “I’m only working with people I LOVE to serve.” Once we name and claim that — and identify exactly who it is we enjoy serving (down to the most minute detail) — then it becomes much more of a reality. I know that’s scary for folks (to turn away business), but I’ve lived it – you can have a “red velvet rope” policy (thanks for that concept, Michael Port), and when you do, your awecome community grows and grows. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Lots of food for thought here, Kathy. I can relate to lots of them. I’m not really the Pollyanna type but for some reason, I consider very few of my experiences mistakes. I guess because I always learn something from each, even if it’s what I DON’T want.

    But a biggie would be undervaluing myself. I think it’s easier to do in creative careers (I’m a writer) because everyone likes to think they’re a writer and it’s often not a very highly valued service like, say, computer programming. But the more I get around, the more I realize I really do have a unique and valuable skill to offer.

    1. Hi Abby – thanks for your insights. I appreciate them and your open sharing.

      This post and all the amazing feedback I’ve received have helped me realize a few things about how I feel about mistakes. First, I don’t believe in regret or regretting mis-steps we’ve taken. Regret and beating ourselves up about what we’ve done misses the point completely.

      But I realize too that it’s vitally important to SEE our mistakes clearly – embrace them, examine them, unearth them and dissect them so we won’t repeat them. I feel that people overall today are too scared to see their actions as mistakes, and that’s a mistake! I was having a neat talk with my friend Jondi Whitis yesterday, and we were discussing what seems to be deep cultural and generational addiction to not admiting we’ve made mistakes or to cultivating an appearance (to ourselves and others) that we’re perfect.

      Instead, I’d like to see us embrace our imperfection and love ourselves more deeply in the process.
      Thanks for commenting!

  9. I recently came across the quote below, which speaks so perfectly to your courageous 52 Mistakes! Thank you for being brave enough to come from a place of vulnerability which gives the rest of us ‘permission’ to do the same…..

    “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ~Emerson

  10. I recently came across the quote below, which speaks so perfectly to your courageous 52 Mistakes! Thank you for being brave enough to come from a place of vulnerability which gives the rest of us permission to do the same…..

    “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ~Emerson

  11. A good list for both men and woman. I know I’ve made ALOT of mistakes on the road to my accomplishments, and the slogan I’ve come up with over the years is this… “Knowledge Through Failure, Success Through Faith.” After nearly 30 years, that verse still keeps me going.

  12. A good list for both men and woman. I know I’ve made ALOT of mistakes on the road to my accomplishments, and the slogan I’ve come up with over the years is this… “Knowledge Through Failure, Success Through Faith.” After nearly 30 years, that verse still keeps me going.

  13. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this outstanding blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

    1. Many thanks for your kind words! A donation – what a neat idea :-))! Thanks for following my work, and looking forward to connecting on FB and LI.

  14. Thanks for this thought provoking website- much appreciated. I am troubled by the name 52 “mistakes” as I fear this angle for self exploration is so judgmental.
    What if you called it 52 “lessons”‘ learned- re-framed it.

    Sometimes I think we wear ourselves down by labeling our regrets as mistakes as though there is a right and wrong way of learning the wisdom that only comes with a life lived. It looks like a teacher grading a project with red ink instead of a wise woman sharing the lessons she has learned on the road to wisdom.

  15. Thanks for this thought provoking website- much appreciated. I am troubled by the name 52 "mistakes" as I fear this angle for self exploration is so judgmental.
    What if you called it 52 "lessons"’ learned- re-framed it.

    Sometimes I think we wear ourselves down by labeling our regrets as mistakes as though there is a right and wrong way of learning the wisdom that only comes with a life lived. It looks like a teacher grading a project with red ink instead of a wise woman sharing the lessons she has learned on the road to wisdom.

  16. Thanks for this thought provoking website- much appreciated. I am troubled by the name 52 \"mistakes\" as I fear this angle for self exploration is so judgmental.
    What if you called it 52 \"lessons\"\’ learned- re-framed it.

    Sometimes I think we wear ourselves down by labeling our regrets as mistakes as though there is a right and wrong way of learning the wisdom that only comes with a life lived. It looks like a teacher grading a project with red ink instead of a wise woman sharing the lessons she has learned on the road to wisdom.

  17. Thanks, Jessica. I appreciate your views. In reading my work, you’ll note that I believe in seeing things clearly, but doing so with as much self-love, patience, tolerance and forgiveness as possible. I share these “mistakes” not to beat myself up or to be critical or hard on myself, but to help explore how all humans make “missteps” in life. If we can acknowledge these missteps quickly and revise our course, we’ll certainly grow and expand and move towards a more fulfilling and joyful life. I don’t invest my time in “regret” actually, because I believe that everything that happens in our lives is potentially for our greatest and highest good. So for me, the key is to see how we’ve tripped up, pick ourselves with love and care, and continue on our path towards what we long for. In the end, if we refuse to look at our “mistakes,” I believe we can suffer more than is necessary. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Forgetting that I matter. 28 years of marriage, raising two children, holding it all down playing the role of mother & wife – I lost myself. Now, husband happy and working abroad, children both graduated from college and happy doing “their” thing – here I sit…I forgot that I mattered.

    1. You SO matter! Look at all you’ve accomplished, and the lives you’ve supported and nourished. Now it’s your turn to focus on you and what matters most to you personally. Now’s YOUR time! Hope you’ll indulge in pursuing all that makes you happy and fulfilled. Each of us matter in the world — deeply and powerfully. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Took your list and edited it to fit me a little bit. Quite scary.

    1) Letting my ego lead me around by the nose
    2) Believing the myth, “Build It and They Will Come”
    3) Letting the “pendulum effect” rule my life (Waiting too long to take action, then being devastated and running to the opposite extreme)
    4) Spending too much money on my business before learning how to earn
    5) Listening to people who claimed to be experts but who are in fact full of s—t
    6) Putting all my eggs in the Plan A basket without having a Plan B
    7) Holding back from sharing my insights, wisdom, and knowledge for fear I’ll give too much away for free
    8) Not listening enough to my instincts and my gut feelings about people and directions
    9) Ignoring my friends when he said, “This is not working!!”
    10) Running around thinking I’m God’s gift to the world
    11) Wasting time in the company of people I don’t adore and respect
    12) Comparing myself to others instead of figuring out exactly what I want to offer, to whom, and why
    13) Staying too long in a job I hated, not realizing it will, eventually, hate me back
    14) Hiding from my fears instead of getting in the cage with them
    15) Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome (thanks, Einstein!)
    16) Taking on a narcissistic “goliath” expecting to be a successful “David”
    17) Remaining in toxic, miserable situations believing that I had good reasons to do so
    18) Letting my salary define me
    19) Feeling like an “impostor” because of my flaws and mistakes
    20) Thinking that this just “happened” to me– not realizing I co-created it
    21) Believing I’d get rich feeding my hobby
    22) Launching my project into a vacuum without necessary support.
    23) Letting my accomplishments blind me
    24) Thinking my past history was enough to generate a successful life
    25) Mistaking myself for a programming genius when I wasn’t coding and designing every day
    26) Longing for national recognition
    27) Being overly attached to one idea, approach, or outcome that I thought was amazing (as journalists say, it’s time to “kill the baby”)
    28) Keeping the truth from myself about, “What do I want, and what do I really want?” from my coding and my work
    29) Not having had the guts to say what I mean – to a whole slew of people
    30) Being wholly unprepared for the transformational process of coding my app.
    31) Believing the hype of “experts” about the earning potential of programming (sorry folks, there’s very little money in it unless you devote your time and energy to it)
    32) Not having sufficiently powerful boundaries to protect myself from the pain of helping people who are suffering
    33) Letting people walk all over me because I felt badly for them
    34) Wasting months not liking my project management/application support work but thinking I should (if you don’t like it, you’re not supposed to be doing it!)
    35) Believing having my training business would be an easy way out of my miserable corporate job
    36) Not understanding,” If you don’t LOVE your clients, you don’t love your work”
    37) Stuffing myself into another person’s “model for change” when I wanted to create my own
    38) Not healing my wounds sufficiently before being in service of others
    39) Coddling my clients instead of helping them solve their problems themselves
    40) Limiting myself to seeing only one way to make a living
    41) Wasting precious time not speaking up for myself
    42) Waiting for my princess to come and change me (and being really pissed off when I realized my girlfriend wasn’t the One)
    43) Letting my mistakes devastate me
    44) Being exactly the perfectionistic overfunctioner that I write about
    45) Spending more time complaining about my situation than changing it
    46) Worrying about polarizing people and alienating other women (it happens – get over it)
    47) Not accepting that having it all means I’m working non-stop and so busy that my head’s going to explode
    48) Waiting too long to find amazing, awesome people to connect and engage with
    49) Believing I didn’t need or want great male role models
    50) Letting my age, generation, upbringing, traumas, cultural baggage, beliefs, fears (my “whatever”) keep me from accomplishing what I wanted to
    51) Listening to my mind to the exclusion of my heart and soul
    52) Not understanding until very late that I’m unique, special and powerful and can make the difference I long to make

  20. “Not understanding until my forties that I’m unique, special and powerful and can make the difference I long to make”

    Wow it took you 40+ years to realise this!!!

    I’M 27 and did so 8 years back

  21. Ravi my dear, it’s not important how old a person is when s/he discovers something–it’s important that s/he did. Good for you that you discovered that you are unique and special before you were 20.
    For people who realize something later in life, the impact can be more powerful. They can also wind up being more humble and grateful for the realization. Imagine if someone realized how unique and special they are at the age of 80 and had only one year to live? That person would cherish that realization more than someone who discovered it years earlier. I can just also imagine the potential for a powerful transformation.

  22. I am 38, male and I hate myself for making what I perceive right now as the biggest mistake of my life:

    I relocated my family from Vancouver to Ottawa for a government job. Sure, I was disgruntled in my previous work, but my complaining blinded me from seeing the positives in my life. I had a little house, have 3 beautiful & young kids 7,4 and 9 mo and a gorgeous wife. The new career is far from being the greener pasture I’d hoped for. I was obsessed with Ottawa, thinking it would give my family and I better opportunities. I don’t see how I’ve bettered our situation and I am filled with guilt and resentment. The new local is not what we’d envisioned and there are definitely more hardships in this new situation. I fear for my marriage and my health. I have been depressed for months, ever since we were in the process of moving.

    I don’t see how I’ll be able to carry on here in Ottawa, but I must be strong for my family’s sake. Now we are stranded here, stuck with a house that won’t sell and we don’t know anyone. I see from reading this blog that I am not the only one who has made mistakes and it makes me feel better. I have made sudden changes after making life “mistakes” in the past and, somehow, these define us and things end up working out in the end. This time, however, it feels different. Maybe because I dragged the 5 of us in this mess, and we lost so much already… If I survive this and transform myself, while keeping my family and my marriage, I will be the happiest man in the world. Thanks for reading this and listening. Rene

    1. Rene – Thanks for sharing your challenges in your current situation, and I’m sorry to hear of them. I hear too how despairing you are about this move, but I hope you’ll hang on and remember that sometimes the darkest times and the worst “mistakes” or missteps we think we’ve made can lead to much better, happier, and more successful experiences, even though we can’t see how when we’re in the midst of it.

      I’d highly recommend that you find a new way to create more happiness in your life right now, even though your outer circumstances seem bleak. Check out my Forbes post How Happiness Directly Impacts Your Success, and within that post, watch positive psychologist Shawn Achor’s TED Talk about The Happy Secret to Better Work – and do the happiness exercises he recommends for 21 days. I trust that start to see things differently and things will change for the better for you. Don’t give up – light is coming! Thanks for you open sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *