We’ve all done it. Confidently made a case for what we are 100% sure is correct, only to find out in front of co-workers that maybe the information was indeed wrong. Dead wrong. Or maybe whispered a secret to a co-worker to learn moments later in a meeting that not only was your secret incorrect and out dated, but the co-worker was 10 steps ahead of you. Or mouthed off to the new hire, only to find out she/he is related to the CEO. It’s humiliating. And humbling. But it’s also something you can recover from.
It’s okay to make mistakes. Managers know good employees make mistakes.
Read that again – good employees make mistakes, AND managers know that. But good employees also learn from their mistakes. It may be painful while it happens – you feel bad, vulnerable, and sometimes even ignorant. But you can get past the embarrassment. It is possible! We have all been there and have lived to talk about it. Remember everyone fails, it’s how you react and recover that matters. And how you recover is what will be remembered. And what will let you sleep at night. Yes, we all know this is what happens:
You: Let me sleep.
Your brain: LOL, no, let’s stay awake and remember every stupid decision you made in your life.
- Own the mistake. No excuses. Learn from it and fix it.
- Laugh at yourself.
- Apologize when you are wrong.
- Always have a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again. What steps are you putting in place to try to keep the mistake from happening? Even if it’s not a foolproof plan, it shows that you acknowledge the error, understand the seriousness of it and are willing to make the effort to keep it from becoming a recurring problem.
After that, allow yourself to move on. It’s okay to give yourself a talking to, “I am such an idiot.” But then get your mind straight and move ahead. With confidence. No more losing sleep over it!
We all make mistakes. We all fail in our attempts. But as the brilliant educator and philosopher John Dewey said, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failure as from his successes.” So, go forward, confidently do what you know is right. But know that you CAN recover if you get a little egg on your face along the way.