Making the Same Mistake Twice

I’d made the same mistake twice.

Or I thought I had.

I was in a working group and felt like I was doing the lion’s share of the work. But the underbelly of that was that I liked pleasing people, I liked swooping in to save the day, and I didn’t like saying no. It was a perfectly pitched storm; near-crisis projects to be done at the last minute and fires to be put out arrived regularly in my lap.

After talking with wise friends, I decided: My ego and I are done making this mistake.

I told the group what had been happening could not happen in the future. I put up some boundaries and I said some nos. It felt good and assertive.

And then I said yes to another project for the group.

GEEZ, Whelan! I thought after I realized what I’d done. Have you learned anything?

I was about to lambaste myself. I was about to believe I wasn’t intelligent. But before I fell down that lousy staircase, I got a trace of insight: I still have more to learn from this.

We can think we’ve squeezed the wisdom out of something, and we have. Just not all of it. It’s no reflection of our brains or ability; it likely means we’re moving through worthwhile change. Which is often hard change and requires multiple climbs up the mountain. If we could summit easily, we would have done it a long time ago.

So I don’t think I made the same mistake twice. Any mountain worth climbing will have multiple trails to the top, and I’d taken a different one than before. Now my work is to gather the learning from this side of the mountain.

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