The problem with self-help books is that they don’t teach you about the mulligan! When we are designing for thriving, we must have this grace.

Someday I hope to be a golfer. While I don’t golf yet, I do understand the concept of a mulligan. You only have to read my book Learn Forward to know I am deeply aware of my humanity. Every part of my life has these bold imperfections and I hope they don’t count on my scorecard. I hope I get a ‘do-over.’ Because of my flaws and failures, I need to play the game of life with the option of a mulligan.

Recently, my mastermind group with Daniel Bauer of Better Leaders, Better Schools, read the book The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod. I was hooked.

After the birth of my third child, I re-envisioned my mornings when I went back to full-time work as a school Principal. I designed my routine with quiet time for me, intentional time for connecting with my family, and gratitude practices. Over the past five years, I benefitted greatly from my practices and continued to refine my morning routines. But, reading The Miracle Morning intensified my commitment, offered new strategies for being consistent, and encouraged me to further refine my scheduled time.

I have shared my experiences with my school team and I know teachers, parents, and children around the world would benefit from intentionally designing the start to the day!

Yet, I am imperfect.

I’ve started to acknowledge my frustration with myself when things don’t go right in words; I look at The Builder and growl, “It wasn’t a miracle morning.”

It happened again this week! I got to bed late, the night was restless, and the little one was awake more than once. Then, I shoved my alarm off at 5:30am and the second one that rings at 5:45am and slept until 6:30. When that happens, I miss my routine and my mood is exacerbated by my disappointment in myself.

The problem with self-help books, and I’ve read a ton of them, is that they don’t teach you about Mulligan Mornings. Outside of The Gifts of Imperfection and Self-Compassion (both of which I highly recommend), there aren’t many self-help books that remind us, everyone is imperfect and we all experience imperfection often. When we’re trying to be consistent with a habit or a way-of-being, it is often fraught with failure or set-backs. And, that is okay.


Here are a few things I’ve learned from my Mulligan Mornings:

1. The problem is worse if I feel frustrated about failing. 

I need to acknowledge it didn’t go well, but allowing that slip-up to continue colouring my morning will just poison the next steps.  The sooner I can make a shift, the better.

2. Tomorrow I get a “do-over.”

Mercies are new every morning. I don’t have to stay in the slime of the struggle. I can lift my head and say, “Tomorrow will be better.” When I exercise self-compassion, I set myself up for generosity towards others.

3. Make good decisions from the moment of awareness and forward.

For the first time this week, when I rolled over and confessed, “It wasn’t a miracle morning,” I shifted my perspective and asked, “What should I do now?” I was liberated to find new ways of getting on the elliptical and connecting with The Builder. I have some flexibility that others may not have, but the point is to consider, “What are my choices now?” That’s when I discovered, “I need Mulligan Mornings!”

4. Grace surrounds me.

Each springtime, I am reminded I can walk in grace. It is so filled with hope to be a Mulligan Morning human being! I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to require perfection from others. When we have embraced our own imperfections, we can be on a messy journey together that includes mistakes, rough edges, and differences. Maybe the miracle is in the mulligan?!

If you are reading this Mr. Elrod, please know, I love your Miracle Morning book! I highly recommend it.

Also, I need to be a Mulligan Morning type of human being, who makes allowances for ‘do-overs.’ Thriving looks like the spaciousness and compassion in my life to be authentic about my flaws and fearless with my future.

Whether you need a Mulligan Morning, a Mulligan Meal, or even something big like a Mulligan Marriage, please know, “I hope you’ll be gentle with yourself.” We’re all doing the best we can.

In what area of your life do you need to exercise more self-compassion?

For the sake of the children,


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