How to turn a mistake into something amazing

Last week I volunteered in my son Sage’s Art class. I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t volunteer unless I had a kid there in the school (I’m exhausted by my own 2 kids… adding 20 more is a little overload for me). Last week I decided to do something with the kids that I have never done with my clients… (Something I think would crush most of my clients.)

Each week I like to teach the kids something about intention, about creativity, about life…

 Art is a perfect mirror for our lives

When I work with my clients we’ll look at their painting and if they are critical of their painting, I know they are critical of themselves. If they want to give up, they do the same thing in their lives when things get tough. If they want to dive in, they’re willing to dive in and let go of control of other areas too.

So this week I wanted the kids to be able to be flexible when the unexpected hit. I wanted them to see that…

Mistakes don’t need to be covered up or thrown away or hidden.

You can use it as inspiration to make something more amazing.

I asked them, “When you make a mistake when you’re drawing, what do you normally do?”

Throw it away.

Flip the paper over.

Cross it out.

But… I asked them, What if you made the mistake a part of your drawing?

I handed out some blank white paper and asked them to draw whatever they’d like. They happily grabbed their pencils and drew away… sharks, princesses, superheros, lizards. I warned them ahead of time what I was going to do so they weren’t completely unprepared, but then I walked through the classroom with a giant blue sharpy and marked their drawings with a squiggle line here and there. Collective gasps the first couple kids, but then they got into it.

The shark grew a fish in his mouth. The princess had a magical power cloud. The superhero had a lightning wand and the lizard found his way into an amusement park with a roller coaster.

By embracing the “mistake” the kids found a way to access something new, something unexpected, something different. They rolled with it.

Can you?

What do you do when you make a “mistake?”



What if instead of trying to control it or cover it up, you said, “How can I use this?” “How can I make this awesome?”


Leave a comment below and let me know what you feel isn’t going right in your life right now… and let me know how you can make what feels icky awesome.


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