So You Made a Mistake


Mistakes—we all make them. No matter how much planning we do, sooner or later, something goes wrong. How we handle our mistakes makes a difference on the effect they have on our lives. Here are few strategies to consider:

Recognize the warning signs
  • When something doesn’t seem quite right, it probably isn’t. Most of us have an early warning system that kicks in when things are about to go wrong. If you sense you’ve overlooked something, double-check your work. When your inner voice says your proposed action isn’t right, listen to it.
  •  Know when to listen to others, too. When feedback points towards a need to fine tune your plans, don’t dig in your heels just to prove you’re right—you might not be.
Learn from them
  • Review what happened and identify what worked and what didn’t. Give yourself credit for what you did well, but spend equal time looking at the parts that didn’t go the way you wanted, and decide what you’ll do differently next time.
  • Be objective and remember things are rarely as dire as our imagination tells us. Look at the big picture and determine what parts you need to correct; then figure out how. (Warning: this may mean putting your ego aside and asking for help.)
Move on after a mistake
  • If you make a mistake, admit it. Don’t blame others if you’re at fault. Taking responsibility for our actions means taking responsibility for ourselves.
  • Don’t press rewind and play your lapse of judgment over and over.  You can’t go back and rework the situation to magically make it disappear, but you can work to avoid creating the same results in the future.
Don’t worry about avoiding all possible mistakes

If you’re constantly worrying about avoiding all mistakes and problems, it’s difficult to make any progress towards achieving goals or fulfilling dreams. We all fall off the bike a couple of times while we’re learning, right? It’s not mistakes that create problems; it’s how we react to them. If we look at mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, that’s exactly what we’ll do.

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