The Dos and Don’ts of Making Mistakes

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Another mistake…Whoops.

A mistake has been made. What’s your immediate reaction because there are plenty to choose from.

Common reactions:

  1. Don’ts (negative): make excuses, blame someone else, become defensive
  2. Dos (positive): accept responsibility, change your behavior, keep going

Everyone makes mistakes, what sets the skillful apart is how they choose to respond.

Don’ts: Excuses. Blame. Defense.

Someone who is constantly making excuses and blaming others creates an atmosphere of negativity. People cannot trust someone who is not reliable.

If you are constantly defensive, others will not want to confront you for fear of conflict. You make yourself unapproachable if you are unable to take responsibility for mistakes made.

Those who seek professional and personal growth must learn how to handle mistakes because no matter who you are, you are going to make them.

We are not going to spend too much time on the don’ts of making excuses, so for further insight on that topic, here is a great article by S.J. Scott titled 13 Steps to Stop Making Excuses and Get Results in Your Life.

Dos: Accept. Change. Keep Going.

What we are going to spend time on is the positive way to respond to mistakes. Learning effective responses to mistakes will help you be proactive in future decisions.

Accept responsibility.

Own up to your mistake. Why? First, others expect it, and need it. Taking responsibility acts like a reset button. You are acknowledging an error and once that is out in the open, everyone can begin to move on.

Note I did not say full responsibility. We will discuss that next.

If an error needs explanation, there is a time and a place for that, but in the midst of addressing your mistake, the reasoning (if any) should not be in the same sentence. Do not try to explain “your side of the story”.

Also, do not take full responsibility if you do not need to. It is wise to take responsibility, but being the person who always takes blame, that is not good either. Clarify.

Should you need to make any sort of clarification, stick to the actual events that happened and leave all feelings out of it. Discuss what happened, be open to feedback and work out the kinks so you can handle yourself better next time.

Change.

What will you do differently going forward? What did you learn so you do not repeat the same mistakes?

Mistakes are great lessons, as long as you learn from them.

Keep Going.

Mistakes are going to happen.

Don’t spend too much time focusing on the error. When you stay stuck in a negative mindset, there is little room for transformation. Reflect on it long enough to learn and mature.

It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us. -Rachel Wolchin


Contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com for more tips and suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you.

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