The Courage to Make Mistakes


(Ellie with her incredible Kindergarten teacher (Mrs. Dow) after the Christmas performance!)

Hi! I hope you’re having a great week! Life has certainly been a whirlwind the past couple of months. I just got back from celebrating my birthday this past weekend in San Diego with my family (thank you for all the birthday wishes on Facebook!) and now I’m about to board a flight to Minnesota to go speak at a Keller Williams Inspirational event. Before I go, I wanted to let you in on a conversation I had with my daughter, Ellie, the other night that had a deep impact on me, because what I teach to others is usually what I need to learn and be reminded of myself. I hope it blesses and encourages you, too.

* * *

ELLIE: Mom, I’m really scared to sing in my school performance tomorrow. What if I make mistakes?

ME: Ellie, what did Mimi tell you about mistakes? (“Mimi” is what she calls my mom)

ELLIE: It’s good to make mistakes because making mistakes is how you learn.

ME: Yes, and if and when you do make mistakes, the best thing you can do is to keep going. The goal isn’t to not make mistakes, the goal is to persevere through the mistakes and learn from them.

ELLIE: But, Mom, there are going to be so many people there looking at me.

ME: First off, each parent will mostly be watching their child. Secondly, where do you feel most free and safe to perform?

ELLIE: With you.

ME: Ok, then I want you to envision it’s just you and me in the living room and you are preforming just for me.

ELLIE: But, Mom! I’m too scared.

ME: Who’s a Disney character you think is brave? And what makes him/her brave?

ELLIE: Elsa, from Frozen. She wasn’t afraid when she walked through the snowstorm and tried to fight off the bad guys.

ME: I think she was afraid. I think what made her brave was that she did it even though she was afraid. Remember what Daddy told us? “Courage doesn’t come because you are big, strong, or without fear. Courage comes because you aren’t big, you aren’t strong, you do fear, but you don’t give up.”

Ellie mulls this over.

ME: Do you think Mommy gets scared when she stands on stage speaking to all those people?


ME: Absolutely I do, but courage is doing it even when you’re afraid. The best part about it is the feeling of confidence you get from doing the thing you were afraid to do. You realize you are braver then you think and then you ask, “What more can I do that I didn’t think I could do?” and a whole new world of possibilities opens up for you.

ELLIE: What if I start getting scared while I’m on stage?

ME: Do what we practiced. Grab the scary thought with your hand. Then think of a new happy thought to replace the scary thought, and then on the count of three, throw the other thought away and the new thought will appear in your mind. Keep doing this as many times as it takes. Remember you have the power to control your thoughts, it just takes practice.

Ellie seems somewhat satisfied.

ME: Sometimes when I’m on stage I feel like Daddy is up there with me, and I want you to remember when you get scared that Daddy is up there with you, too.

* * *

I think I needed this conversation more than Ellie. It reminded me to embrace my mistakes, because they are necessary for growth. Courage is doing whatever is scaring me, despite my fear. Confidence and growth comes from repeating the process over and over. I have the power to control my thoughts and I can replace the fearful thoughts with uplifting ones. Lastly, love is eternal.

What about you? When was a time you felt the fear, but chose to be courageous and take action anyway? What did you learn from it?  Thank you for spending your valuable time with me today. You are braver than you think. Sending you a hug! Love and Blessings.

PS –Ellie did great in her performance! She relaxed and really enjoyed herself. Afterwards I asked her if she felt like Daddy was with her on stage and she enthusiastically replied “Yes!”

PPS -Christmas is coming, and if you’re looking for a meaningful gift to share with those you love, please check out my late husband, Andrew’s, book, The Ellie Project! This book is truly for all ages. His drawings are simple and children love them, but his words are powerful and wise enough to carry us all through this life, no matter what our age. Get your signed copy at

*Want to motivate, inspire, and encourage a group, company, or church you are a part of? My message is about “transforming life’s greatest challenges into a purposeful life” and I’d love to come share it! Email me today at [email protected] to book me as your speaker.



One Response to “The Courage to Make Mistakes”

  1. Megan

    Love this so much bay! Sweet wisdom and love from a mommy to her sweet girl! We love our copy of Andrews book but I’m excited to share it with my little niece, Ella this Christmas. I love you so much??