Making the Most of Mistakes

Perfection is impossible. No matter how much we think through a decision, triple check our work, or stay organized, something at some point in time will go wrong. It’s best to make the most of it and move forward!

Here are some things you should NOT do when you make a mistake:

Hide it. It’s best to come clean. This can help you avoid further damage.

Lie about it. This really should go without saying, but I feel the need to say it. Please, don’t lie. Mistakes are unintentional and can usually be fixed. Lying is intentional and won’t be forgiven as easily.

Blame someone else. You can regain trust by being honest. It will be incredibly difficult to regain trust after you make a mistake and lie about it. Sure, you might get in trouble, but you’ll recover.

Deflect your punishment. If it’s a little mistake, you’re unlikely to be punished. However, if the mishap is substantial, you may have to face some consequences. Accept those consequences. Handling your punishment with acceptance and understanding will speak volumes about your character.

Besides doing the opposite of what’s listed above, here are some things you SHOULD do:

Find out how the mistake happened. Tracking down every step of the process to find out how a mistake was made or how something fell through the cracks can be tedious. However, it can be a great learning experience and will prepare you to fix the problem.

Develop a plan to prevent it from happening again. After you do your research, brainstorm ways of preventing the mistake from happening again. Maybe you forgot to attend a meeting – get yourself organized with an online or paper planner. Making the same mistake twice is avoidable. 

Learn from it. Hopefully, after you’ve done your research and developed a plan to prevent the same mistake in the future, you should be able to learn. If you learn from your mistake (ideally) it shouldn’t happen again.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can and will recover from mistakes. If you linger too long in the past, you’ll miss the important learning process. Don’t let a mistake keep you from accomplishing great things!

The text Sometimes You WIN Sometimes You LEARN, appearing behind torn brown paper. Motivational quote.

Do you have any helpful tips for recovering from a mistake?

Ally Coonradt – Harrisburg Intern – Fall 2015


2 thoughts on “Making the Most of Mistakes

  1. A few words from a few famous (and successful) folks:
    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~Thomas A. Edison
    “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” ~John Wooden
    What I’m saying here is that mistakes, are going to happen, but learning from them and making changes are both critical to success. Well said, Ally. And my tip to add is this: Mistakes will happen, but the responsibility, humility, and determination you have to overcome them will define your character and success far more than the mistakes themselves. Swallow your pride, humbly ask for forgiveness, fix what’s wrong, and don’t do it again.

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