4 Steps to Starting Fresh…Especially After Some Epic Fails

January 6, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila


As we enter into 2016 many of us are excited about changes…shedding emotional baggage from some bad decisions, taking on new challenges, and setting bigger goals than any other time in our lives. A lot of great things happened for Alaska to Africa in 2015 but in many ways 2016 is a new start. Is it for you? Whether last year was a mess of a bad decisions and regrets or a wonderful year of forward movement…or more likely a mixture of both, looking at this year as a fresh start feels amazing and full of hope for me at this very moment. How can 2016 be a fresh start for you in your business and your personal lives?

As you probably know, my philosophy about our business and personal lives is that there really is no difference. Hopefully your work life is very personal to you. It is for me. We spend so much of our lives at work that we should keep it balanced and have the same type of goals that we might for our lives outside of work, namely, to be successful, to be happy, to have amazing relationships that nourish our emotional and intellectual needs, and time to enjoy the fruits of our happy labors. A fresh start can rejuvenate us in huge ways and open the door to unseen opportunities, but how can we actually start fresh? What does it really mean?

  • Release regret and forgive yourself and others. This is a BIG one. While spending some quality time with some good friends in New York, both the husband and wife in separate conversations about changes happening in all of our lives, brought up the well-known serenity prayer most commonly associated with AA members in their recovery:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The truth is we all make bad decisions and some of us make horrible choices when faced with various circumstances we can’t control. Our circumstances aren’t by any means an excuse, and we learn from every experience we have and see in others, but the truth is we can’t change the past and need to come to peace with it and release the natural regret that comes with it. So look at your choices this year. Realize what you’re agonizing over that is unchangeable and take courage! A bad decision will have bad consequences, but maybe it cracks open the opportunity to start fresh, do things better, and realize the power of your own resilience. Looking back you will no doubt find comfort in seeing the strength you showed and the loving support you had.

Secondly forgive yourself for your mistakes in your business or your life. Nobody is perfect and the people we admire the most are usually people who have had some epic failures personally and professionally. If you’re anything like me, you hold yourself to a much higher standard than anyone else does. And it’s even worse if you’re known as the person who really DOES have it all together! When we stumble we tend to go big, but someone recently pointed out to me that it’s only because we’re so strong and have held so much together for so long that the crash is bigger and harder. So deal with any crises, make amends, and forgive yourself. It’s the only way to make a fresh start.

  • Release the fear of making mistakes and not being perfect. Fear, as we know, is debilitating but when we focus on the mistakes we made it stops us in our tracks. Whatever we do from here on out will not be perfect but take a moment to focus on everything you’ve accomplished. Sometimes I find this one very hard because I like to expect myself to be perfect so I can’t see the progress. However, a great help has been to set aside a time each week to count the accomplishments and successes of the past few months and to celebrate them. Now, at the beginning of 2016, I’ve had the chance to look back on the year and I really can’t believe the amazing things I’ve accomplished on my own and with the undying support of others. Reflecting on those things can fill us up with joy and inspire our vision for what is possible in the coming year. So release the fear and allow for a fresh start.


  • Remember who you really are. I love this because like many of us, I can get mired down in the day to day work I have and forget myself in the equation. When we look back on mistakes we can start to identify with the mistake, but I am NOT my mistakes. The person I am 99% of the rest of my life is who I really am. Partly, I AM my work. Everything that I write, every adventure I plan, every team that I help, every encounter with a friend, and all the good that comes from it is ME. Sometimes people can easily let the big fails define themselves instead of realizing who they really are.


One thing that really helps is taking the time to be with people who know who you really are, whether it be co-workers, family, or friends. I have some in each category but they don’t just appear when I need a big internal shake up. If I’m stuck and feeling like I can’t move forward, I have to seek them out. For some it’s as easy as having a supportive spouse who really sees you but for others it takes effort. And the effort is well worth it. Remembering who we really are, what we’ve accomplished, the loyalty shown to us and provided by us, and the good qualities that others cherish in us is key to making a fresh start with clarity and hope.


  • Set goals that come from a place of inspiration! This one is short and sweet. If we want a fresh start we have to set goals obviously, but they must come from a place of inspiration. Our goals can’t be set out of desperation for love, money, or anything else. Only you know what inspires you, but whenever you think of all that you want in life and all you want to give and all the ways you want to serve others in your personal and professional lives you will have moments of inspiration. Take those moments. Let them excite you and be open to ideas that might otherwise seem too big. Truthfully, nothing is too big when it comes from a place of inspiration.
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