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Business Insider reporter Rachel Gillett has some great advice in “13 Things Fearless Professionals Should Do Before Turning 30.” The most unexpected? “Get fired.”


In the June series, Just Watch, we’ve looked at ways to blend soul practices like discernment and working with intention with your career. But what do you do when life’s just not going your way? Not blunders like “Hey, I didn’t say that quite right.” I mean in-the-big-meeting, drop the ball, career derailing disasters. Getting fired makes the list.

Imagine transforming hard times by focusing on what can be salvaged. Not shifting your perspective once in a while. Doing it all the time. No throwaway days.

Author J.A. Jance’s career has had a lot of twists and turns. She thought she had found the perfect match in her first husband, also a writer. However, he confidently announced to her one day that there would only be one writer in their family, and it was him. Her aspirations came to a screeching halt. Big mistake.

Following their divorce, she began to write again. Her first book was 1,200 pages long. Big mistake.

It wasn’t picked up. Big mistake.

You’d expect Judy to gloss over those career nightmares. Surprisingly, she doesn’t see those moments as big mistakes. Judy said, “Writing that book that didn’t sell taught me how to do pacing. Taught me how to write dialogue. Taught me how to write descriptive scenes. So that was really on the job training.” She continued, “One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything – even the bad stuff – is usable.”

Does it sound like Judy is just trying to paint her backstory in a positive light? Think again. All that “on the job training” translated into hours of focused work and no throwaway days. In fact, 2015 marks the prestigious 30th anniversary for this New York Times bestselling mystery author.

Now, try applying Judy’s perspective about mistakes to your work. Do you have a couple of sore spots ready to be recategorized as “on the job training”?

I have a friend whose work as an audio engineer took him from state to state. His adventures in real estate could make a painfully funny reality show. However, Chris isn’t bitter. He always laughs as he reels off the epic details. To say he had a steep learning curve would be putting it mildly.

“My house in San Francisco taught me to ask about earthquake retrofitting. My house in Vermont taught me to ask about flood plains. My house in Eugene taught me to ask about flight patterns. Who knew a regional airport could be so loud?!” Some people might have thrown in the towel on home ownership, but Chris persevered. He applied everything he learned from his big mistakes.

This week, spend some time with a mistake or two in your past, especially the big ones. Acknowledge them. Own them. Forgive yourself and others. Experiences are only big mistakes if you let the story end there. Change your view and move on. Your rallying cry this week? “No throwaway days!”