Bouncing Back – You Are Not Your Mistakes

Bouncing Back – You Are Not Your Mistakes


To screw up on the job is to be human. We are not robots (yet) and mistakes happen. However, that one mistake does not have to define your entire career from this day forward. You can, and should, start planning how to bounce back from your error so that you can once again be a professional who has earned the respect and trust of colleagues and clients alike.

Here are five ways to pick yourself up from the pratfall you just made and get yourself back in the game:



1) Apologize and Own Your Mistake


A proper apology should not be a 5,000 word mea culpa written during an all night session spent sobbing over your keyboard. Rather, it is a simple and straightforward admission owning your mistake and accepting responsibility. It takes a strong person to admit they’ve done wrong and will carry the blame. Without a proper apology, however, you can never move on to the next step of fixing your mistake.


2) Create a Plan to Make it Right – Then Put it in Motion


So you’ve admitted your mistake and want to move on. Clients and colleagues may not find this an easy thing to do, depending on how bad your mistake was, and how much it impacted the company’s bottom line.


By apologizing you’ve put the mistake behind you. There is no need to dwell on what you’ve done – it will only make you feel worse and take the wind out of your sails. You need confidence and motivation to set this second step in motion. If it requires working extra shifts, taking undesirable assignments, or arriving early at the office for the next two months, make it happen.


Showing you are serious about doing better the next time and not repeating your mistake is the best way to move beyond the error and regain the trust of whomever you have wronged.


3) Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice


Reading number three, you probably thought, “That’s so simple. I would never do that!” It has happened in history more than you think. Once you’ve made a mistake, learn from your lesson. Do not unthinkingly repeat whatever misdeed got you in hot water to begin with. This will only further erode the confidence others have in your competence and ability to get the job done.


4) Think of 3 Good Things You’ve Done in the Last Week


At the end of the work day, when you arrive home, take 10 minutes for yourself. Make a conscious effort to recall three good things you have done for others this week. This is an important step – don’t skip it! Remember that you are not your mistake. If you’ve committed to making it right and have learned from the mistake, there is no need to continue beating yourself up over it. Dwelling is counterproductive and will sap energy that you can use for future projects. Ditto for listening to Justin Bieber’s song Sorry on repeat.


Remembering those three good things will remind you that you are a good person. It will also make it easier to get on with living.


5) Get Your Allies to Help


If what you did is a firing offence (they do happen) all is not lost. Get your friends, the people who have your back, on your side. They will provide references, alert you to new opportunities in the pipeline, and provide emotional support. Again, don’t beat yourself up for days on end. Own the mistake and then move on.


Remember, you are not your mistakes.


By following these 5 steps you can bounce back and own your future.


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