“It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.” – Garry Marshall
I’m going to be really honest with you–when it comes to making mistakes, I’ve made my share. Probably more than my share–but the good news is that I am still alive, kicking and happier than I’ve ever been. And yet, I continue to make mistakes every now and again. But I’ve learned some things along the way that help me get through those tough post-mistake moments.
What To Do When You Make a Mistake
Taking a leap of faith helps you understand yourself better. Sometimes, though, the result isn’t what you were hoping for–but that doesn’t mean there was no value in trying. After all, you learned something from taking that leap and you moved toward your goal in the process, right?
And hey, more good news: while accepting your errors isn’t easy, it’s definitely possible.
Put these strategies into play the next time you make a mistake:
1. Admit it. As soon as you realize you’ve made an error, it’s wise to admit it. First admit it to yourself, and then to others who are involved. Although you may think that it will make you feel worse to own up to what you’ve done, you’ll actually feel relieved. Your sense of personal power will be renewed as you move forward and make peace.
2. Apologize if your mistake affected others. Accept that saying “I’m sorry” is an important aspect of the human condition. It’s likely you’ve received a well-deserved apology from someone that meant a lot to you.
- Tip: An honest and open apology delivered in a timely fashion can mend relationships and soothe personal difficulties. When apologizing, you can have the most impact if you look the person in the eye and avoid mincing words. Say something like, “I’m sorry I didn’t call you like I said I would. I realize you missed having dinner with your sister because you were waiting for my call.”
3. Promise to do better next time. Whether you vow to yourself or to the person you wronged, take the next step after apologizing by stating what you’ll do in the future. Even if no one else is involved, you can promise yourself to act differently the next time. Using the previous example, you could add, “The next time, I’ll call you as soon as I know my plans have changed.”
4. Move forward with renewed effort. After there’s been acknowledgement and an apology, you can proceed ahead toward your goals. You can now feel unfettered, as if you’re beginning anew. In a sense, you are.
5. Find the silver lining. As odd as it may sound, something positive may come out of your misstep. And this happens more often than you might expect.
6. Recognize that your mistakes open your eyes to new knowledge. Some information can only be gained by “tripping” over it—making an error. Much new knowledge can be discovered in the course of something going awry. After an error, ask yourself, “What have I learned from this experience?” With mistakes comes progress.
7. Take only the positive with you and leave the negative behind. In the past, you may have avoided confronting your error or apologizing for it. You might connect a lot of negative thoughts and feelings to making a mistake. Remind yourself that your faux pas aren’t all bad. Focus on the positive outcomes of your blunder and allow the negative to fall away.
Because we’re human beings, we’re bound to make mistakes. By following these suggestions, we can learn how to accept our errors and proceed on with a renewed strength and determination. Accept your mistakes and continue on your quest for a successful life!