From a young age, we are encouraged to learn from our mistakes. In school, in college, in Life, at work, and in our relationships.

To make things worse, we naturally tend to focus on our mistakes, and we tend to forget our successes.

So we rehash a 1 star review and think: “How can someone be so evil?”

We come out of a conversation and think: “What an idiot, I should have said ABC.”

We reflect on a tricky situation and regret: “Ugh, I should have done XYZ.”

Confronting your shortcomings is not bad, since learning from past experiences is invaluable to improve and prevent recurrent errors.

Yet over time, focusing exclusively on mistakes can be emotionally demoralizing.

“We become pretty good at leaning from our mistakes because they are the only thing we deconstruct,” explains Alastair MacDonald, brilliant business consultant and serial entrepreneur.

He has a much smarter strategy, which nobody else seems to talk about: if you want to get better at something, deconstruct your successes.

Did you have your best quarter ever? Why? What factors led to it?

Was CPR successful at reviving your patient? Why? What was different this time?

Did your big project work out? Why? What made it a success?

This introspection can lead to powerful insights, rituals, and skills, that might otherwise be completely missed, because of humility or habit.

This analysis can provide a strategic blueprint to replicate success in future projects.

Focusing on successes promotes a culture of celebration and acknowledgment. It fosters a positive environment that fuels motivation. It encourages individuals to recognize their strengths and leverage them for even bigger achievements.

Here are situations where you could benefit from dissecting your successes:

  • Client satisfaction: Examine circumstances where clients were exceptionally satisfied. Identify factors contributing to positive experiences and 5-star reviews.
  • Efficient workflow: Deconstruct situations where a streamlined system contributed to effective care, then replicate those practices.
  • Product launch: Analyze a successful product (or service) launch. Pinpoint effective marketing strategies and client engagement tactics.
  • Financial growth: Analyze a successful financial quarter. Identify the strategic decisions that led to the growth spurt.
  • Employee satisfaction: Identify successful employee satisfaction initiatives. Then rinse and repeat to foster a positive practice culture.

As is often the case, we probably need a balance between learning from mistakes and deconstructing successes. This should lead to a well-rounded approach to self-improvement.

If you would like to learn how Chronos can help you and your team regain time and sanity, please reach out to us. Simply click on the Discovery Call button above or visit

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Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free certified

Co-Founder of Chronos LLC