Seeing past the mistakes.

There is no shortage of creative ideas pouncing along in my brain. I was discussing them with a friend the other day and the response I got kind of surprised me. They said, “You’re such an entrepreneur.”  I don’t know exactly why that caught me off guard but it did. Not in a bad way, it just wasn’t expected.

I like the idea of being an entrepreneur. Being my own boss, and exploring new ideas, has always been something I have enjoyed doing. I hate the idea of going to an office and sitting at a cubical for hours on end. I am grateful for the people that do, because the world needs people to do that kind of thing. It’s just not my jam. I would rather work on 8 totally different projects, in 8 different places, and in 8 different ways, usually all on the same day.

The good side of my personality type is that I am great at starting things. I tend to be able to communicate a vision for something pretty well and when I start on a project I tend to go all in.

The bad side of my personality type is that I am also good at not finishing those projects. I can get distracted easily. I want to move on to the next big idea. I crave a challenge so if I feel like I have something figured out it is easy for me to get bored.

The term I have heard describe people like me is “Activator”. I want to initiate change.

The descriptions I have seen for an activator and an entrepreneur are fairly similar. Often times the motivations for the things I want to do are not related to finances so that may be why being called an entrepreneur hit me funny. I genuinely can say that being rich would definitely be cool but it isn’t my main objective. I have had money and been miserable. I have been broke and content. Money is not my source of joy.

Knowing these things about myself is vitally important to my mental health. If I am not aware of my motivations I can get myself into some frustrating situations. If I take the time to search out the reason behind an idea, I am able to discern whether or not I should be following through on those ideas or if I should focus on something else. Since just because I can, doesn’t mean, I should.

For an example: A while back around this time of year Nintendo launched its newest gaming platform the Wii. It was all the rage, and people were clamoring over each other trying to get their hands on one and the prices on line went through the roof. So myself, being the entrepreneur that I am, decided I should try and take advantage of that trend. So I kept an eye out for these things and discovered a place where I could buy 4 of them at one time for even less than what they were going for in most of the places I was looking. So I coughed up the money on these 4 Wii systems and started to think about all the money I was going to make.  The problem is that I had the idea about a month too late. When the devices arrived I went to turn around and put them on eBay, only to find out that the price had dropped through the floor. Timing worked out just right for me to come into a flooded market with lower prices and ended the whole escapade about $50 in the hole.

This was a great example of me doing something for what I told myself was a good idea but really had horrible motives behind it. “I was just going to make some extra cash for my family.” I said, “I am being a provider.” Ya…right.

What I was doing was putting dollar signs over ethics, trying to satisfy my greed, off the greed of others. I was impulsive and not intentional. And because of the mental health struggles that I have, but wasn’t really treating at the time, I sunk. Losing that money around Christmas time made me feel like the worst Husband/Father in the world. I was a failure in my mind.

Now I can look back and see that I wasn’t a failure, I was someone who was not managing their impulsivity (a part of my Borderline Personality Disorder) and faced a consequence for it.

Being involved in Celebrate Recovery has helped give me the tools to examine myself in an open and honest way. My mental health issues are still there but I have gained the ability to manage my symptoms in a much healthier way. I still make poor choices at times, everyone does. But now I am able to learn from those mistakes and grow. I also have the ability to talk about what is going on with my support circle so I can sort through the thoughts that want to drag me down. I can look at a situation with a realistic view of what is going in my circumstances.  I know that I am more than my mistakes!

And learning about myself has helped me to know who to surround myself with. If I am bad at finishing what I start then I know I need to surround myself with people who have a “Responsibility” personality and will help in getting me to finish the task. I used to think I was a constant failure because I never got things done. In reality I was doing things in the way I was designed to do them, I was just doing them alone. I need people around me who will compliment my strengths and allow me to do the same for them. Working the 12 steps hasn’t taken away my mental illness, but it has given me the ability to see beyond it. There is more to life than just getting through my day. Sure there are times when that is all I can do, that happens. But a lifetime has a purpose behind it. Celebrate Recovery helps me to see that purpose. It helps me to see that purpose and where there is purpose there is hope.

Think about it. How do you feel inside when you are thinking, “What’s the point?”

There is a point. You have a purpose. Even if you can’t see it right now, you have a purpose.


Nate Stewart

National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery


One thought on “Seeing past the mistakes.

  1. We can get stuck on the failures so easily… the struggle to see our gifts and talents thru the ups and downs of our minds can bring such discouragement at times. Mental illness is a walk thru the woods learning what paths we can’t go down because of how our minds work … but once we discover them, are purposeful about being mindful of them the beauty of how God created us starts to shine forth… we start to see the paths we can go down and should because it clears the path for others….it gives the world more options because our minds think outside the box. This was a great example of harnessing and seeing what you bring to the table with a mind that is always creating and moving. Thanks for sharing Nate!


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