Dropping the Ball as the First Step to Success

Reframing a mistake as part of the process

Many years ago I was given a “kit” to learn the art of juggling. It included three balls and a set of instructions. The instructions were as follows (to the best of my recollection):
One does not learn to juggle three balls immediately. It must be done in steps. First you will juggle one ball, then two and finally three. But first you learn “The Drop”.
The Drop
Pick up one of the balls.
Then you drop it.
Continue repeating until you feel that you have mastered this step.

Then, of course, the instructions went on to explain how to juggle all three balls.
This is a WONDERFUL lesson! This simple reframe had a profound effect! By making “The Drop” the first step in the process, I never felt like I made a mistake. Each time I dropped the ball, I simply thought “Oh, that’s the first step”. Imagine if we included “The Drop” as the first step in all our endeavors. If our business failed, we struck out at home plate or stalled the car, we could simply view it as part of the learning process and move on without embarrassment, frustration or self-flogging.

Are there any endeavors from your past for which you are still beating yourself? Perhaps you could reframe that “mistake” as part of the learning process. Forgive yourself. Please?

~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

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