I had a real scare yesterday. My 3 year old daughter, Isabel, lost her balance and fell from an 8-feet-high rope ladder, head first. I screamed, and although I was a few steps away, I couldn’t reach her in time. She hit the dirt on the side of her head and right cheek. Luckily, her head does not seem to be injured. Besides a shiner on her cheek, she was just super scared.

As I’ve reflected on this experience over and over again during the last 24 hours, I’ve realized a distinct difference between how kids handle something like this vs. how adults handle it. We, as adults, can better achieve career success if we behaved more like kids when we “stumble and fall” in our life or career — forgive and forget!

We are all imperfect.  We can all make mistakes in our careers, or be treated unfairly by someone at work. Can you think of a time when this happened to you? I can think of a few. How long did you hold on to that moment when you stumbled and fell a little in your career? For many of us, we spend months, or even years, blaming ourselves or others for what happened. Forgiving and forgetting is far from our minds. I am writing this to remind all of us to forgive and forget in life and at work.

It took Isabel about 20 minutes to get over the scariest experience of her life. She simply acted like nothing happened! I know she will want to climb another rope ladder the next time she sees one. I think most kids are like that, which is why we tend to say that they’re so resilient and learn so quickly. They don’t hold onto negative baggage or blame, which means they can move into the next moment and absorb it 100%. It didn’t even occur to Isabel to blame me for not catching her, or that other kid who stepped on her finger before she fell. She just dealt with the accident and moved on once she felt better.

It seems so simple, yet many of us lose that ability to be resilient — forgive and forget — once we grow up. I still want to blame myself for not catching her, or I want to blame the parents of the kid that stepped on her finger. I’m catching myself, though — I’m realizing that every moment I hold onto bad past experiences is a moment that I am not 100% in the present, learning and evolving. The same applies to bad experiences we may have had at work.

Stop letting yourself relive your past career mistakes. Forgiving and forgetting is key to your future career success. We are all imperfect, and unfortunately sh** happens sometimes. The best way to deal with it is to move on so you can experience every new moment with freshness and 100% focus.

Good luck. I look forward to your thoughts. Please provide comments in the box below.

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I am always in your corner.

– Lei

8 Thoughts on “Forgive and Forget – Key to Career Success

  1. So easy to say and so difficult to do ((
    Where is that good balance between being carefree and farsighted?… 🙂

  2. After reading this article I wondered how to get more people who are managers to read it. Most managers are under the assumption that they are perfect and know how to do their jobs….but such is not the case. People who learn to forgive and forget will definitely have a better working team because they (the team) will be put in positions where they will be complimented on jobs well done versus being reprimanded for every little mistake.

  3. rehema on October 3, 2012 at 6:31 am said:

    I need more of this for my personal growth

  4. Lei Han on May 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm said:

    Thx for commenting. Glad you can relate. Tracey call me when you have a chance. I will email you my number

  5. Prabal on May 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm said:

    i agree, been there before, it is best for both parties to acknowledge what happenned and learn and then move on

  6. Linda on May 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:

    I love this piece!!

  7. Tracey on May 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm said:

    Wise advise, my friend. Been dealing one of those issues myself, so if you have time to chat, would love some perspective so I can just get past it… (time to climb that ladder back onto the trapeze!!!)

  8. Martin on May 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm said:

    I spent a couple of years in an assignment that I eventually decided I didn’t like and didn’t have a future for me. I requested another assignment in the same organization. I decided that I wasn’t going to say anything negative about the people I used to work with. I just let my frustrations go. I always pat myself on the back for that decision. When I retired . . . same thing. I decided to go out on a positive note and not relive the frustrations of the past year. If someone from HR had given me an exit interview I would have tactfully given some feedback.

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