Don’t Let Mistakes Define Your Career
Mistakes do happen. The true test for a professional comes not with the mistake itself but with it is handled. Experience is an important teacher and the more you can learn from the mistakes you make, the better prepared you will be to avoid the same issues later in your career. While you shouldn’t seek out mistakes you also shouldn’t reject them when they happen. Here are a few tips for handling mistakes in your career and how to overcome them.
- Stop, think, and don’t panic. When a mistake happens sometimes our first reaction is to flee and hide. But before you panic, take a few moments to stop and think about what just happened. What are the true long term implications of this mistake? Who will it affect? What can you do to defuse the situation?
- Take responsibility for your actions. The next more natural reaction is to deflect the blame on to someone else. While this is a normal human reaction it is something we should all avoid when mistakes happen. Pointing the finger and placing blame is the worst thing any professional can do when they make a mistake. Own up to it as soon as possible.
- Discuss the impact with others. Once you know who this will affect you must talk to them about what happened and how it will impact them directly. Talk to them about the issue and what you expect to happen. Listen to what they have to say, even if it is hard to hear. There will be anger and hurt feelings but it is important to work through these before you can move forward.
- Stay honest throughout. Don’t lie to cover your tracks or soften the blow. In these situations, lies always have a way of coming out and there could be bigger implications if it is discovered that you kept vital information out of the conversation or changed significant details. It may be difficult, but stay honest.
- Create solutions. Lastly, there are very few mistakes you could make that can’t be solved. Once you’ve gotten past the initial shock and anger it is time to develop solutions to the problem. Take some time to evaluate what happened and determine what can be done to fix it. It is highly unlikely that your mistake was so egregious that you will be terminated or you’ll have to quit your job.
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