For many professionals, a mistake at work can be a huge blow to their confidence. The scenario can become stressful on your mind and make you feel like you are bad at your job or not suited for that particular job. Restoring your self-esteem after a failure takes time, but it can be done. The faster you do this, the more effective you will be in the future.
But forgiving yourself is not always that easy. In the following, eight experts from the Young Entrepreneur Council discuss how you can get back on your feet after a mistake and how you can not deal too hard with yourself in the future.
Young Entrepreneur Council members share tips on how to recover from a mistake at work.
Photos courtesy of each member.
1. Learn how to fail forward
Every mistake is an opportunity for growth. In our company we call it “Failing Forward”. Making mistakes gives us the opportunity to put in place “controls” to help other employees avoid the same mistake in the future. It is best to do a training session on the bug and the new controls, using yourself as an example. It can be a blow to your self-esteem to make a mistake, but everyone makes mistakes and people respect honesty and vulnerability. To be a leader that people follow, you need to demonstrate both of these qualities to your people. Mistakes lead to solutions, and the most successful companies welcome the best solutions! – Bill Mulholland, ARC Relocation
2. Think about the bigger picture
We use this phrase a lot at our company: “This is marketing and PR, not the emergency room.” That doesn’t mean we don’t take our job seriously or understand the trust our customers place in us to deliver for them, but it does mean that by and large no one is going to die because you forgot to send an e- Mail or left an extra comma in an article. If you keep things in view, you can reflect the mistake with less emotion. This will help you determine what went wrong and how not to make that mistake again. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
3. Write down what you have learned
Recognizing mistakes is how you grow. Every time I’ve failed in my career, it’s taught me an unforgettable lesson. Unless you keep making the same mistakes over and over again, there is no need to beat yourself up. Instead of spending time feeling down, I took the time to sit down and write down what I learned from the mistake. These learning points have saved me countless times. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida, PA legal advisor
4. Be ready to be vulnerable
It’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s not okay to beat yourself up and feel guilty and shameful forever. By admitting your mistakes to your team, you humanize yourself so that people understand that you are a real person with weaknesses, not a robot. When you open up to others, people will respect you more instead of bottling it as traditionally taught. Once you take responsibility for a mistake, people will feel fully responsible for your actions and will trust you even more. This isn’t intuitive to most people, but at the end of the day, character is more important than raw skill, and business is more about human interaction than mere performance. Then promise to do better next time and people will see your true character. – Matt Wilson, Under30 Experiences
5. Reflect and become the owner
Reflection and personal responsibility are the key. Take a few minutes to write down why it didn’t go well and what you can either do now to fix it or what you can do next time to do better. If other people were involved, include them in the solution. Let them know how you feel as a mistake and how with their help and partnership you would like to make sure it gets better next time. Taking ownership is a great help in rebuilding your own trust and trust in your team. – Kerry Guard, MKG Marketing
6. Talk to someone who has been there
It is helpful to talk to a mentor or partner who has been through what you are going through. Your experience and real understanding of your problem can make your words more effective. You will also benefit from learning from your own mistakes and theirs. Your mentor could also give you a different perspective on your failure and help you see the positive aspects of such events. In the end, finding the silver lining in a dark cloud is a matter of choice. With the help of mentors, friends and partners, it is possible to recognize this food clearly and faster. – Syed Balkhi, WP beginner
7. Don’t push down as you feel
Whatever you do, avoid running away from feelings of disappointment and unhappiness. If you keep your feelings down by working harder, ignoring the problem, or doing other activities, it becomes even more difficult to overcome the mistake. As uncomfortable as it is, sit down and take the time to think about your mistake. Take a look at what led to the error, what assumptions you made and what actions you should have taken later. Writing about the experience can be very cathartic. Once you complete the difficult task of sitting with the mistake, you can accept all that happened and move on. You may even receive some powerful lessons that will benefit you in the future. – Blair Williams, Member Press
8. Create solutions to the problem
The best thing to do when you make a mistake at work is to find and create solutions to the problem. Depending on the situation, this may not always be possible. Most of the time, however, there is something you can do to fix the problem or find an alternative way to deal with it. Once you are aware of the problem, try to find solutions that can take you to the top of the company or to your manager. Explain your plan and how it will solve the problem, or at least improve it. This does not guarantee that your solution will be chosen, but it does show initiative on your part. – Stephanie Wells, impressive shapes