We all mess up. It’s a part of life, right? We may jack up a huge project at work or flub a conversation with a family member or friend. We have our flaws and faults because we’re human, but it’s easy to get down about them.
I make mistakes all the time and I’ve gotten to the point where I can be hella honest about them. I wouldn’t be Imperfectly B if I didn’t. And I happen to think that we learn much more from our losses and screw-ups than we do from our wins. So it’s important to share those lessons with others. And, since I’ve made my share of mistakes over the years, I definitely have learned how to recover from them.
Story time. I have a full-time job that I really like and work hard at. I go above and beyond not even just to make a good impression, but because that’s the way I was raised. I’ve definitely had some slip up along the way, but nothing too major. Until a few months ago. I was in charge of logistics for a huge meeting, including catering for breakfast and lunch. Somehow someway, when I ordered online, the lunch order was processed for the wrong day. I didn’t realize there was an issue until I was on my daily lunchtime walk when I got a call from my boss. It didn’t matter that I had issues ordering online. It didn’t matter who messed up the order entry. I should have double checked the confirmation email and checked that it was straight.
I was mortified because now we had hundreds of dollars worth of food that couldn’t be returned. And I had to reorder the exact same meal for a few days later. My anxiety went through the roof that day, and I could barely look at my boss at the end of the day. But, at the end of the day, I took myself through the following checklist with three simple but somewhat difficult tasks to try to get through it.
1. Take accountability.
The biggest thing needs to be done when you mess up is taking ownership of your words or actions. I find that people like to throw others under the bus to save themselves or downplay their roles in stuff. Nah. Own up to your part in everything. You’ll get way more respect that way as well as possible forgiveness if you damaged a relationship in some way. Trying to shift blame only makes things worse.
2. Forgive yourself.
Even if another person may not forgive you right away or at all, it’s important to forgive yourself. Acknowledge that you made a mistake and work towards letting it go. Yes, you messed up, but holding on to guilt only makes things worse for you on a physical and mental level. Trust me, I know. Plus, depending on what it was, sometimes people end up forgetting over time anyway. I called myself punishing myself again with bringing up this up to my boss again one day and she had literally forgotten about it until I said something. It can take some time but work on letting go of the past and moving forward.
3) Learn from the mistake and do better.
Another major thing you need to do is learn from the mistake itself. Look at where you messed up. How did you get there? What could be done to make sure that this doesn’t happen again (or at the very least, less frequently). What do you need to change or work on to make things better? Once you’ve figured that out, work on making the necessary changes and adjustments!
Hopefully this helps you like it helped me!