Reframe “Lesson Learned” and Expand on Experiences

Would you like a redo?

Do you regret a life experience?

Would you like to move something out of dissonance and into a more productive place?

Last week, my coach and I came up with an exercise that helped do just that. And yes, I have a coach. I believe in the process of partnership called coaching just as much for myself as for my clients. From time-to-time I even engage consultants to give me answers to challenges. I also believe in having mentors—people who can guide and show us how they do things faster and more efficiently. I just want to be clear on that. Now, here’s the exercise we devised.

Step 1—Isolate your “redo” or regrettable experience.


  • I didn’t say “I love you” when I had a chance.
  • I loaned money I couldn’t afford to lose to someone who didn’t repay it.
  • I shared confidential information that ended up hurting someone.

Step 2—State your “redo” in a sentence fashioned similar to one of the examples below:

  • I learned my lesson when ______________ (insert your experience).
  • _______________ (insert your experience) was a good lesson for me to learn.
  • I guess I had to learn the hard way so when __________ (insert your experience) happened, I better understood my lesson.

Step 3—Now, restate your experience by trading out words as outlined below:

Replace lesson with experience

Replace learned with expand

Replace lesson learned or learned my lesson with observe


Change: I learned my lesson when I jumped off the moving train to save my hat from being lost in the wind.

To: I observed something quite profound when I jumped off the moving train to save my hat. This experience expanded my understanding of gravity and knee-jerk reactions.

Change: I guess I had to learn the hard way how to stop jumping into relationships too quickly.

To: When I experienced my last break-up, I observed how my ideas expanded about how important the decision is to enter into a relationship.

Step 4—Notice the difference this reframing exercise might make you feel about yourself.

You might find that it changes how you feel toward yourself, or it might integrate the experience into a peaceful resonance rather than allowing it to orbit around in your head, or it could offer a greater sense of wisdom and self-compassion.

What we’re after is a way to support your mind and heart to be in a more productive, honest state. What we’re not trying to do is dumb-down your situation and white-wash it with pretty language.

I often say: It’s pretty damn difficult to do better while feeling worthless.

We can improve step by step when we find a way to reframe our experience and actually expand beyond it.

Author’s Note

My mentor, my co-creative podcaster buddy, Judith E. Glaser, often makes statements such as this: “To get to the next level of greatness depends on the culture. The quality of the culture depends on the quality of the relationships. The quality of the relationships depends on the quality of the conversations. It all starts with conversations.”

To her point, I suggest that we begin to examine and reframe any and all conversations that arise in our own minds that are not productive or effective.

To learn more about how to have more intelligent conversations, fill out an intake form and schedule a 30-minute discovery session with me today.

Free download—I often create coaching tutorials for my clients. They generally take 2 minutes or less to complete. This particular tutorial is related to the topic of this blog. If you’d like to give it a listen and have it for yourself, click our resources button!