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Friday, 13 September 2019

How To Bounce Back After Making A Mistake At Work

Nobody likes to fail and when things spiral out of control or go badly wrong, we react to it so negatively. Success, however, is neither possible or conceivable, had there not been obstacles, hurdles and barriers we had to overcome to get to the other end and to achieve happiness and a sense of accomplishment.   

No matter how big or small, trivial or serious they are and intentional or not, making mistakes and encountering setbacks are human and often we are judged for them; that and less focus is placed on what we could have done differently or better to minimise, reduce or avert its impact in favour of criticism, condemnation, which is deserved of course. But by harping on and on about the negatives all of the time, doesn't do us a great deal of good. I have been there and done that, several times and so I'm not just saying this for the sake of it; rather I screwed up a couple of times for trivial and even far more serious things that I have been caught guilty of doing.  

We do and say stupid, dumb things and even things we regret in saying and doing in the first place for various reasons. And yet as bad as the mistake is and can be, you can't let it and other people who buy into it and who think otherwise of you, define you as a person and let it undermine your work efforts. 

So you messed up, big time - yet by choosing not to respond in a positive and assured manner in order to repay and win back the respect of both your colleagues, as well as your bosses who gave you the opportunity by offering you a job, which you took with both hands, is even worse. BUT by learning how to move past your mistakes, by approaching your work life in the right frame of mind and working and striving towards doing and being better in the future is the only way forward. 

  • Apologise for your actions in person - it gives you a chance to explain yourself but keep it succinct and modest and don't make it sound desperate. You can't change what happened or turn back the clock and undo the mistake, but by owning up to one's (ir)responsibility and learning from the mistake, it means there is less chance of it happening again

  • Be honest and hold your hands up - honesty is the best policy and if you lie, then chances are, the truth will come out and the consequences could and will be more costly, such as termination of employment. Acknowledge and admit that you are at fault, rather than accusing other people of it, by avoiding it or come up with excuses 

  • Be humble - show your understanding of the situation by reflecting on your past actions and that you have learnt a valuable lesson

  • Do not beat yourself up - dwelling on the negative leads to self-doubt and can hamper one's own progression or attempts in recovering from the setback. Keep believing in yourself, think positive thoughts and reminding yourself of what your strengths and achievements are and use that to further motivate and spur you on. Whenever I mess up, I always refer to my positive attributes and traits to make me work harder and better than ever.  

  • Get advice from the supervisor, line manager or some of your colleagues and ask where did it go wrong, what you should and shouldn't have done and take this on board from now onwards. Assess your mental and emotional state that led to that specific action. Your plan should address and highlight what actions you must take to prevent such further incidents from ever occurring 

  • Win back the trust of your colleagues through your actions, do not just talk the talk - Failure is not about falling down, but choosing to stay down. If you choose not to do anything, then that is not progress, but it shows you are willing to settle for less. Talk is... cheap; if you talk about it, but do not live up to what you say by doing it, then it exposes your true, or be it false colours. Demonstrate your worth by letting your work speak for itself and resist going on and on about your mistake and/or how good of a worker that you are. Your efforts will be noticed eventually and avoid toxic people, who drag you down 

  • It's not about proving a point, but to show you have changed, not in spite or despite of, but because of your mistake - you change for the greater good and the mistake appears to be a kick- in- the- arse/ass you need and acts as a wake-up call for you to improve and work even harder than before. It also builds your resilience and self-confidence 

  • People, who judge you from your failures, are probably most likely to be the ones who have never experienced the same or similar struggles as yourself - to them, it's easier said than done to say things and offer an opinion, but of whom haven't been through what you have gone through and walked a mile in your shoes to truly understand you and to get to the heart of the matter

  • Do not compare yourself to others, know who you are and what is your true worth - the only person who knows you far better than your actual self... is you, and you alone. Try not to aspire to be as good as anyone else, but do good for yourself and remind yourself that you are bound to get better

  • Turn a negative into a positive, let go, forgive and move on - everyone makes mistakes and nobody's perfect. If, however, everyone is perfect and doesn't screw up once in their lives, ever, then how is s/he going to learn, grow and develop as human beings? Like a rollercoaster, life is a journey and ride that is full of ups and downs but once you get off, that's when it comes to a halt. It's how you handle that mistake that can make matters better - or worse. React positively, be resolute and rise up

  • A real failure is when you never try or do not make any effort to try - if you try and fail, it's not the end of the world, but when and if you don't do anything, then really one hasn't fully moved on and made progress  

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