How To Grow From Your Mistakes

Mar 28, 2019

"To err is human."

How do you deal with mistakes?

We all make mistakes. It's easy to forget that when we're in the midst of a mess-up.

But it's impossible to avoid miscalculations, mishaps, both big and small.

And have you found that the busier you are, the more mistakes you're likely to make? Maybe you've hurt someone's feelings by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or left the water running and flooded your home, or fumbled the presentation in a meeting, or maybe you lost a client?

No matter how impeccable you are or how perfect you feel like you could be, the question is not whether you will make a mistake, but it's "Will you own it?" Will you stay positive? Will you move forward from life's inevitable ups and down?

So how do you bounce back from a mistake?

I'm going to share with you three things you can do to put mistakes behind you? And the three things aren't panic, make excuses, or blame others. (I've tried all those and they don't work! :))

So, how do you work towards accepting mistakes?

Learning from them rather than avoiding them or denying them.

There can be real benefits from mistakes. Often people make mistakes because they're trying new things. And there have been some great discoveries from mistakes - post-it notes, Teflon, penicillin are some examples.

Mistakes can be proof that you're trying. Mistakes have the power to make you better than what you were before. So failure is not the opposite of success, it's actually part of it.

So what if we looked at mistakes as more of an opportunity? Making mistakes can help us focus more closely on what we're doing and try to do our absolute best.

The challenge is when we dwell on mistakes as it doesn't help us to move forward.

Also, remember this - you are not your mistake. When you make a mistake keep in mind that it doesn't mean anything about you, who you are, the kind of person you are. Many people make mistakes literally and jump to conclusions about their self-worth. No-one's perfect and that's ok. You make mistakes; mistakes don't make you. Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.

So use them as a stepping stone to rise to the next level.

Now, nothing can make the effect of your mistake go away entirely. But taking these steps can put you in a better position and help you make the most of a bad situation.

The most important thing to remember is to remain calm. Often our first response is to panic - the fight or flight response. Feel the panic, sit with it, but don't act from it. Wait until you calm down. You want your mind and your heart to be in harmony. So don't waste time and energy grieving over past mistakes.

Here's how you can put them behind you, to keep it in the past.

I want you to make it an OLD mistake.

  • "O" is for "Own it". You want to it own by thinking about these four "A's".
    • Accountability - take responsibility for it. With great responsibility comes great power.
    • Accept it - part of accepting it is forgiveness. Forgiveness of others, forgiveness of yourself.
    • Apologise - if you need to apologise to others because of your mistake do it. Do it swiftly, do it briefly. Apologise and tell them that you're working on the situation. It's far better to come clean rather than hide it, or worse, blame others for it.
    • Admit it - come clean. Admitting your mistakes is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of maturity. By embracing humility trust can be built or rebuilt both on a personal and organisational level. Admitting your errors invites other people around you to admit their mistakes and do the same. So it contributes to a healthy environment at home and also at work. and when you help foster this authenticity, you create a safe environment for people to admit their mistakes, and people are not so quick to judge. What's important is that you separate the person from the mistake.
  • "L" is for "Learn". You want to learn from it. Often our best teacher is our last mistake. How I learn is by getting clarity and identifying the mistake. You must first understand what you did wrong in order to change it. You need to be honest and objective with yourself. Next, I would understand how and why I made the mistake in the first place.
  • "D" is for "Don't repeat it". Those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. So learn from your mistakes, remember them, and put things in place so you don't repeat them.

So this is how you leverage your OLD mistakes. Own them. Learn from them. Don't repeat them.

Remember this - everyone makes mistakes. It's not how we make mistakes but how we deal with them that defines us.

You don't have to be proud of your mistakes but you can be proud of how you dealt with them and how they made you a better person today.

So next time you find yourself as the cause of a personal or workplace blunder, do not shy away. Admit your mistake, apologise, learn deeply, follow through with actions to fix it, and instead of running away embrace the situation as an opportunity to show yourself how great you really are. Because you are awesome, mistakes and all!

Arohanui

P.S. Join Kia Tū Teitei Monthly HERE! During March, April and May we show you how to claim your personal power, discover your signature leadership presence, power up your personal brand, increase your visibility and more in our Wahine Toa programme.

P.P.S. The next iWahine Leadership Hui is 17-18th October 2019 in Wellington.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

Subscribe
Close

Tēnā koe

Sign up to receive weekly updates, tips and advice on personal and leadership development.