Throughout my journey of motherhood and business, my greatest moments of growth have come from getting back on my feet after failure. Failure is inevitable — especially when you’re raising 7 kids while building an exciting company like Chatbooks alongside your husband — but what’s important is how you choose to respond to your mistakes. Nelson Mandela, the late great leader and revolutionary, was absolutely onto something when he said: “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” So how do you really turn your failures into life-changing lessons? Read on for my tried and true tips to make the most of your missteps.

Remember that everyone makes mistakes 

No one is a perfect mother, entrepreneur, friend, sister, lawyer, teacher… you name it. We all make mistakes. We live in a world where we constantly see people in their picture perfect moments (thank you, Instagram!), and it can lead to us comparing our worst moments with someone else’s best. Comparison is the greatest thief of joy. If we remember that we all make mistakes, it’ll be easier to cheer each other on when we succeed and to pick each other up when we make mistakes. 

There is no way to get better without seeing what we aren’t doing well 

Wearing rose-colored glasses when we are examining our mistakes will never lead to lasting improvement and change. I have a very vivid recollection of a baby blowout at the store 25 years ago that still haunts me. As smelly and messy as that was, it totally changed the way I prepped for outings with my babies moving forward (pro tip: always take an extra outfit and keep back up diapers and wipes in the car). And now with older kids, I keep things like deodorant and disposable toothbrushes in the car, just in case. But without getting a whiff of a smelly 13-year-old or lugging around a naked baby who pooped through all 4 layers of his clothes, I would have never changed my ways and improved!

The most important things take time

In the midst of failure it often feels like we will be there forever, but take heart and know that it’ll pass. We live in a world full of immediate gratification. We can literally look up anything we want to know and have an answer in less than a second. As a result, we often feel like our problems and frustrations should be fixed with the same speed. Learn to sit in the discomfort of those hard moments and trust that, all in good time, things will work themselves out. There are always rainbows after rain.

Learn to smile through the pain

Hard things happen — it’s a fact of life. But we can choose how we handle it. Find reasons to smile amidst the heartache and you will always come out on top. The last few months have been really tough and, although working from home has its perks, I find myself getting pretty burnt out at times. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly low, I’ll look at the hilarious memes that my sisters send to me, open Marco Polo to see videos of my darling baby nieces and nephews, or crack open one of many Chatbooks a relive one of our Family Fandangos. Get yourself through pain by finding reasons to smile and laugh — I promise there are many! 

Choose to see the glass half full

I remember going on a hike with my family one time and seeing a beautiful butterfly. Bright, bold colors, gorgeous long wings, and it was sitting there as if posing just for us. We all oohed and aahed and snapped several pictures. It wasn’t until later that we realized that the beautiful butterfly had been perched on a giant piece of dog poop! This got us laughing so hard. We were so preoccupied with its beauty that we hadn’t even noticed. Quickly a lesson came to my mind about the power of our perspective. Choose to focus on the good, rather than whatever mess is in the background.