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206 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?
One thing for you to think about
Gratitude is like a muscle. When strong, it makes us resilient. When weak, we are easily broken.
You strengthen gratitude through conscious practice. You lose it through unconscious laziness.
Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.
Two things for you to ask yourself
This week is Thanksgiving in the United States—a holiday designed to force us to all think about gratitude (and football). What are you grateful for (other than football)? What could/should you be more grateful for?
Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.
One thing for you to try this week
While I’ve got you here, let me express my gratitude to you. Thank you for reading my thoughts, caring enough to open these emails, being courageous enough to send in a response.
Now it’s your turn: Express your gratitude to someone this week. Bonus points if it’s someone whom you’ve never expressed it to before. Extra bonus points if there’s turkey gravy involved.
Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.
New This Week
How to Know When to End a Relationship – Last week’s podcast looks at one of the hardest decisions any of us has to make: when do we end a relationship and when do we stick it out? The episode is built off the back of five questions sent in by you all about your relationships. Check it out.
Last week’s breakthroughs (and a question answered)
In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to analyze the mistakes and opportunities in your life and see if one is masquerading as the other.
Holly thought she was making a mistake, but it turned out to be a great opportunity:
Last week, my awesome boss offered me a new position as social media manager—before that, I was only tying ribbons.
I don’t have any experience as a social media manager. The position had just been created, so my boss vaguely knew what she wanted, but I would have to do most of the research on how to do my job myself. And she wanted me to start the campaign immediately!
My first instinct was panic. This was so clearly a mistake. No way could I do this! Not only would I flop, but I could lose my ribbon-tying job too if I did badly enough.
But I took a breath. I decided I would go all in, give it my best shot (and tell my boss I needed a week to research first).
I just finished week two. My boss is over the moon with my performance. I’m expanding on some of my ideas, correcting some that flopped, and seeing tons of possibilities. I’m good at this! I’m so glad I rethought my first instinct!
Lilley, realizing she made a mistake, managed to mitigate the fallout and transformed it into an opportunity:
My full-time job is as a writer for a learning technology consultancy. Part of what I do is to write blog posts for one of our clients, a learning platform. We pitch ideas to them, and if those ideas are for interviews with someone, they will typically approach the person themselves to ask if they would be willing to be interviewed.
The other day, I found someone on LinkedIn that I thought would be a perfect person to interview. I got so excited about the idea that I just impulsively reached out and asked him if he’d be open to the idea. I didn’t want to go through our client, as I thought they’d probably shoot it down, since the people we interview are usually already connected to the client in some way. I thought nothing would come of it, because the person wasn’t connected to the client or myself, and because he’s really high-profile. I assumed the message would just be ignored. However, he got back to me and said he would be willing to be interviewed, and that I should send more information.
By this point, a colleague had told me that this might not have been a good idea, since I didn’t ask the client first. The client might not be happy that I reached out on their behalf, it might look bad if the client is not interested in us interviewing this person after all, and it could just end up being an embarrassing situation that reflects poorly on us and on the client.
I told my managers about it with a knot in my stomach, telling them that I realize that I should have gone through them first, and that I wouldn’t do something like that again. I was extremely anxious waiting for their response. Although I was lightly reprimanded, the response wasn’t as bad as I thought, and they helped me come up with a way to sell the idea to the client that didn’t make it obvious I had impulsively reached out on their behalf.
The client responded well, and is interested in the interview, asking me to take the conversation forward. So, as a result of my impulsive excitement (and sure, my good idea and initiative), I may have landed us the highest-profile interview we’ve ever done.
Finally, a breakthrough and a question from Riley:
The biggest mistake I made was a decision to stay in a relationship four years ago when I was handed evidence it would fail (quite literally a pair of another girl’s underwear). And my biggest hidden opportunity came from saying ‘no’ to a safe job offer in the faith something more aligned would come if I kept trying (it did).
I do struggle however in making these decisions today. How do we discern if we’re over-correcting as we judge future mistakes or opportunities?
The funny thing about the mistake/opportunity exercise is that you can justify almost any decision as either after the fact, depending on how you look at it.
The goal then isn’t to necessarily get all of our decisions “right.” It’s simply to train ourselves to take another look and question our assumptions. Mistakes usually seem obviously right when we commit them, so what is it that seems obviously right today that may actually be wrong? Opportunities are often hidden beneath something that seems scary or threatening on the surface—so what is scary/threatening today that could actually pay off massively in the future?
It’s merely a way to train your brain to look at things from another angle.
As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.
Until next week,