Recovering from a mistake

A few weeks ago I made a huge mistake with a client.

I had set up a live video call with his team in Europe and miscalculated the time difference.

At 6am when he and his team were on the call, I was fast asleep.

Boy was I surprised when I logged into my email at 7am to prep for what I thought was an 8am live video call.

He was understandably upset. I would have been mad, if it was me in his shoes. He was “disappointed.”

I apologized. I owned my mistake.

And then I spent a solid 24 hours flogging myself, so ashamed at my stupid error.

Everyone makes mistakes. But as a perfectionist, I expect 100% perfection from myself in every.single.thing.I.do.no.matter.what.no.excuses.

So, how do you recover from a mistake?

Not how do you apologize, or how do you make amends…but how do YOU, you on the inside, you who feels like an idiot, you who is burning with the shame of your mistake, how does the YOU in your head recover?

Every time I thought about it, my body flooded with shame. My face flushed and I continued to beat myself up over and over again for that first 24 hours.

Now you may think this is not such a huge mistake! It’s not the end of the world. And the logical side of my brain knows this.

Unchecked, this kind of mental downward spiral can be pretty disastrous to your sense of self-worth, which can then start to affect your attitude and overall well being.

If you do this to yourself over every thing you do wrong, it can dramatically increase your stress and anxiety, making you less happy in all parts of your life.

And that’s just not ok.

When you’re feeling low, disappointed in yourself, as if there’s no path forward… It’s time to try on your resilience skills.

Here are some ideas to shift your self-blaming and mental spinning on the things you do and say everyday, like:

  • “I interrupted him and I think he’s mad at me. I think he’s ignoring my emails now.” 
  • “The client asked me a question and I didn’t know the answer. I felt like an idiot.” 
  • “I sent the wrong file to the client and now I have to figure out how to tell them that I’m wrong.” 

How to move on 
Resilience has a few key components that will help you move on more quickly:

  1. Mindfulness: be aware of what’s happening in your mind and your body. You mind may keep replaying that scene over and over. Your stomach aches, you may get shaky or feel nauseous. Once you’re aware of the signs, you can start changing your response.
  2. Gratitude: studies show that a daily gratitude practice can change your response from negative to positive when life throws you a curve ball. Start and end your day with one or two things you are grateful for.
  3. Self-compassion: instead of focusing on the things you did wrong, think about the things you did right. Instead of immediately going to, “Oh, sure, I messed up again,” you can intentionally go to, “Yes, I made a mistake today but remember all the good things I did, too!”

The bottom line
Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you recover from those mistakes that will make or break you.

Spin on them for days and you’re wasting an awful lot of time focusing on something you can NEVER CHANGE. You cannot go back in time and do something different.

You can only go forward.

I messed up with this client but I have also done a lot of things that were really helpful to him and his team. I still wasted 24 hours fretting over my mistake, but before I started working on my own resilience, that would have gone on for days and days.

I consider that huge progress!

I’d love to hear what you do to be resilient.

Warmly,
Melissa

P.S. You know the ONE THING that will sabotage your success? Your mindset. If you don’t believe that you deserve more, then you will never convince someone else that you do.

Check out my class  Fearless Mindset: Increase your confidence so you can take the next step.

Check it out HERE.

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