I wrote an article here about recovering from mistakes. In it, I gave 5 ways to recover from your mistakes. In this series, I will look at each one a little deeper.
1. Accept the mistake.
2. Don’t beat yourself up.
3. Find value.
4. Have a main goal to shift back to.
5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Today, let’s start with #1. Acceptance.
1. Accepting the mistake. Accountability leads to strength.
In order to recover from mistakes, you must first accept the fact that you made a mistake. In doing so, you acknowledge your humanity. Yes, we are human, yes, we make mistakes and yes, we will make more mistakes. It’s another way of saying, you must hold yourself accountable.
There’s a lot of freedom in this step. By nature, it helps to alleviate our guilt and frustration. We are then able to consciously move beyond our emotions and think about solutions.
This is called thinking past the first thought.
As a developer of leaders, I often speak about this concept. We fail to admit mistakes due to our first fearful thoughts. We’re scared we’ll get in trouble or that we’ll look stupid. We don’t want to let people down and we don’t want to seem ineffective. Our fears can be so powerful, that we will lie to others and ourselves as we try to create an external catalyst for the mistake, as opposed to looking within.
Fear is a reactionary feeling, rarely based in reality. Unchecked, it can overtake our ability to stop and think.
If you did it, don’t try to justify it, just own it. You will begin to see that it’s probably not the end of your life. You may have caused damage, but, you’re probably not going to get eaten by a shark or buried alive. Apologize if necessary and begin the process of recovery. That’s all you can do at first. Make sure the apology is sincere, if one is required.
The best part of holding yourself accountable for a mistake is that you can affect change that may solve the problem. If you blame “something or someone” outside of yourself, the solution to the mistake comes when that “something or someone” changes.
Blaming others leaves you in a very weak position, as it relates to problem solving.
Admitting to mistakes, owning them, puts you in a position of power. No one is going to knock you for making a mistake, as long as you intend on helping to solve the problem and learn from it.
But that can only happen if you’re not beating yourself up and living with a sense of self-worth.
We’ll discuss that next time…