5 times I made the wrong decision (and what I learnt)

I try not to regret much in life; taking a karmic view of a situation and looking for the positives is kinda my bag. That's been tested lately with our failure to renew our youngest son's passport in time before our planned holiday to Greece...Hard to see the bright side on that one! Read on for more bad decisions...

I also try not to see my decisions in life as good or bad, right or wrong. I figure, once made - that's the right decision. It might not always turn out the way I expected or hoped, but I do think that we make our choices based on the best available information that we have and that's the right thing to do.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing and with time comes the realisation that perhaps certain decisions didn't serve me as well as they could have.

However, instead of beating myself up about WHAT A FAILURE I am, or torturing myself with thoughts of what could have been, I try to understand what I can learn from the situation and use it to make decisions more effectively next time. Doesn't stop me from doing stupid stuff but we are all works in progress right?!

I'm sure you've had those moments where you've looked back on a situation and wondered why you allowed yourself to get into it and what dire consequences there could have been. Or you've had time to look again at a decision you made and can't for the life of you figure out why you said yes, or took that path. And those experiences shape you, they leave a scar. They make you worry about the next time you have to make a decision and what happens if it goes wrong. They fire your self-doubt and fuel the overthinking cycle even more. They keep you stuck where you are even though you want more and know you deserve more.

It doesn't have to be like this though. You can stop the rollercoaster of overthinking and self-doubt. You can use your past experiences to learn and grow, rather than to punish yourself for failing or not being good enough.

So what are the 5 decisions in my life that turned out to be wrong but actually had something to teach me..?

1. A tattoo. Of course. I got a big, ugly, tattoo on the classic 00's lower back area when I was 19 and heartbroken. In a fit of 'fuck you ex boyfriend' and maybe in a bid to inflict some pain on myself to take away the pain, I got inked. It looks awful 20 years on but I don't really mind it and like to tell my kids how much it hurt. I may even post a pic to the Gram for your viewing pleasure one day. So, what did I learn from this painful experience? That making rash decisions isn't always sensible. If I'd have taken the time to research a bit more, I might have ended up with something beautiful and meaningful. Side note, I got a second tattoo a couple of years later because I wanted to woo the tattoo artist. That one isn't great either...

2. Trying to get to a job interview in London via Paris. Again, I was young. I'd planned to go to Paris for a weekend with a friend and I got invited to a high-flying corporate job interview for the Monday after. In my head it made sense to accept the interview and travel from the Eurostar station straight to the interview. That didn't quite work out; the train was delayed and I was an hour late, soaked to the bone from a downpour and sweaty from running up the stairs instead of taking the lift. What did I learn from this debacle? Aside from realising I didn't want a City job and instead wanted to work in the travel industry; a bit of planning is wise, as is a reasonable amount of catastrophising. I know, I know -I'm forever telling you not to spiral into the 'what if' void, but gently exploring the possible bumps in the road can be a helpful decision-making tool. The trick is to know when to stop worrying and start doing.

3. The many, many times I've decided to leave my house without checking I have my door keys, and realising too late that I don't. Resulting in panicked calls to my husband, parents, in-laws, cleaner and even the elderly neighbour who'd recently moved to a care home and still had a spare key with her, to let me in. And the lesson? Never assume. Assumptions about yourself and assumptions about others, even assumptions about how the world works, are all risky things to base decisions on. Never assume you aren't 'enough', never assume you don't have what it takes and never assume your keys are in your bag.

4. The decision to buy a large piece of furniture and put it together by myself. The winning combination of impatience and misguided feminism led to me slicing open my foot on a metal drawer rail and dripping blood all over the carpet. Did I also mention that I was in my son's room trying to manoeuvre it while he was sleeping, so I couldn't even yelp in pain. What did I gain other than a bruised foot and ego? The reminder that asking for help is not a burden, trying to do it all is not possible and it's ok to need someone else's guidance and expertise in areas where you are not the expert. See also, the revelation that I had when I first had coaching and realised I could talk to someone qualified, supportive and non-judgemental about the stuff I had going on in my head.

5. This final one is not one wrong decision, but many of the same one, made over and over again. It's that decision, often unthinkingly, to say yes to something or someone when my plate is already too full. To smile and just carry on 'doing' because now that's what expected of you and if you suddenly start to say no... people will think you are an awful, mean, selfish, heartless beast. What has this endlessly repeating lesson taught me? That as a People Pleaser I am conditioned to keep conflict away and let harmony in. To try to keep everyone happy but to then sacrifice my own happiness. I've learnt over time that it's ok to say no sometimes and that it doesn't make you less likeable or kind. And that saying no gives you more opportunity to rest, which in turn allows you to think about what matters most to you and to make big decisions with more confidence. A tired mind does not make good, quick decisions. A rested and compassionate one does.

So there you have it, my roll call of bad decisions that actually turned out to be not that bad in the long run. None of these disasters led to actual disaster. They all helped me in some way eventually.

I'd love to hear about your wrong turns along the way (to reassure me I'm not the only one who does daft things). I know you have some people pleasing tendencies too and wonder if those are getting in your way of restful, clear thinking?

If you are ready to ditch the overthinking cycle and make some bangin' decisions with confidence, then I'm opening up bookings for my new group programme which starts in November. You can read all about it below and I'd be so thrilled if you joined us.

Laura x