there is no such thing as a mistake

The Fascinating Truth About Making Mistakes

A few years ago, I stumbled across “the work” of Byron Katie. If you’ve ever tip-toed down the yellow brick road of personal development, it won’t be long before you encounter the teachings of Katie. Many a guru has attributed portions of their success to what she refers to as “the work.” 

“The Work” can be distilled into 4 simple questions. At the risk of trivializing the concepts, “the work” at its core suggests that every issue we ever experience in life is solvable by asking ourselves the following: 

  1. Is it true?
  2. Are we really sure it’s true?
  3. How do we think or react when we believe that thought?
  4. Who are we, or could we be without that thought?

Katie believes that there are no mistakes. And the only negative or suffering that comes out of any situation boils down to our thoughts about that situation.

there is no such thing as a mistake

I can only imagine what you are thinking…how can all life’s problems be answered in four simple questions? Three, really. You’ll notice questions one and two are pretty much duplicates. But if you really think about this, it is mind-blowing. 

What if the level of our pain and suffering is only determined by how we think about a circumstance?

What if there are really no such things as mistakes? What if a mistake is only a mistake because of the thoughts we attach to it – of what we made that mistake mean? What if instead, we viewed the outcome of all our actions as a positive? 

In my coaching practice, and inside the Facebook groups I belong to, I see many agents struggle with decisions because they are afraid of making a mistake.

Here are the most common questions that come up.  Or at least some version of the following:

Should I go with an ocean blue background on my logo or opt for sunset orange?

What should my niche be? And won’t that dissuade people outside of my niche to book travel with me?

How much should I charge for my booking fees?

What if I pick the wrong website developer, email service provider, CRM software?

What’s the best font pairing?

And my all-time favourite that comes up at least once a day…

What is the best host agency to sign with?

What if none of it matters? So many travel advisors get caught up in the smallest of details that truthfully, nobody cares about.

Can you imagine Agnes and Floyd, discussing their upcoming Antarctica cruise holiday…about to drop 50K for the bucket list trip they’ve been planning for years and then Agnes turns to Floyd and says…

You know Floyd…I like Diane but the background hue on her logo is just off-putting. Let’s go with Sally from Idon’tknowmuchaboutTravel instead.

A highly unlikely scenario.

The main reason why so many of us don’t take action on blue vs. orange is that we are so worried about making the wrong choice. And we find ourselves paralyzed in inaction.

there is no such thing as a mistake

The truth is…there are very few decisions that are life-ending. And maybe self-annihilation is not your primary concern. Many travel business owners are just trying to stretch their dollars as far as they can. They worry that making a poor choice could cost them extra money or time that they don’t have. But what they don’t factor in is the opportunity cost of not making a decision. 

I had one client, who, when I first met her, was struggling to make a decision about choosing the perfect host. I wrote an entire A to Z guide on Choosing the Right Host For Your Travel Business but the perfect host for you might not be the perfect host for someone else.

You can ask 100 different agents who their favourite host is and they’ll probably all say the one they are currently with. It’s not like we all sign up with multiple hosts and do an honest comparison. And if a host really does suck, they probably won’t have been in business for long in the first place.

Do some research for sure, but at 11:59…just pick. Because there are no mistakes.

Even if by choosing the wrong host you end up sacrificing a higher commission structure in lieu of lower monthly fees…guess what? You can change it. And if you lose a few dollars making that mistake, at least you are in the game making money and not sitting on the sidelines. And if you look really closely, you may even discover other lessons learned from that host that you may not have acquired elsewhere.

The only things set in stone are, literally, cave paintings. Check out these bad boys in Patagonia’s Cueva de Los Manos. Everything else in life is negotiable – or at least I like to think it is.

In Byron Katie’s teaching, she suggests that we hold the power to change the way we think about a result or an event. Instead of…”Crap..that was a bigass mistake”

We instead think…

“Nothing has gone wrong here.”

there is no such thing as a mistake

Had you not spent the money on that Facebook campaign that netted you zero new leads, you would never have learned what not to do. It’s called the school of hard knocks for a reason. 

No mistakes…just lessons. It’s like taking a Fail Fast approach to business. It’s about going out and trying things, baking in the idea that some things are just not going to fly and that’s okay. No mistakes. It’s all part of the process. 

I highly recommend that you listen to Byron Katie’s work. Listen, as opposed to reading, since she has a delicious, omnipotent and grandmotherly voice that melts over you like a sip of warm cocoa on a chilly autumn evening. 

I’ve gifted her book to many of my besties. Some loved it. Some just said, “Diane, I didn’t get it.” So take what I say with a pinch of saffron. But for me, fully appreciating and accepting the concept of no mistakes, was freedom.

Katie also jokingly has commented that the Hindi word Namaste 🙏  is actually how “No Mistakes” comes out if you either say it really quickly a few times or if you’ve downed a bottle of Tito’s at Chico’s Cantina on Friday night. That’s by design. 

Since mistakes are only mistakes in the eye of the beholder I invite you to go out and make as many as you can and then change your perspective on them.

If you haven’t signed up for my email list yet, many might call that a mistake, but me, Nah…I believe that you get what you need to get when you are ready to get it and not a moment before. 

Namaste 🙏


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1 year ago

The older l get, the more l realize there are no mistakes. Not that l am old or anything. 😉

Rick Boettcher
Rick Boettcher
1 year ago

My favorite saying regarding mistakes is, “That’s why pencils have erasers.”

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