Making Mistakes – Part 2

Posted by on Oct 1, 2007 in Success!Ezine For You



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2007

Making a mistake is bad enough, but failing to rebound from one is torture. Your mind keeps reliving the blunder – filling you with feelings of embarrassment and self-reproach. Fears of humiliation abound and can overwhelm you when your error is well known throughout the organization. But you can survive this, so don’t despair. Take steps to restore your credibility and do so today.

  • Analyze the Mistake

While not pleasant, it’s essential to dig deep to determine why the mistake happened. This prevents you from repeating the same actions in the future. Retrace your steps. Where did things go wrong? Why? And try not to get defensive when you are questioned in further detail by superiors who are trying to help you determine the root cause of this mistake. It may feel like an inquisition at times, but it’s important to keep drilling down until you and they fully understand why things went awry. Sure, being asked “why” over and over feels accusatory and managers must find a way of asking these questions that doesn’t cause you to feel badgered. But remember that those who excel have good self-confidence and view this process as helpful, not hurtful, to them. Indeed, many times it is determined that a mistake occurred because of organizational policies or procedures that get in your way. Once understood, these contributory factors can be fixed. So, don’t get hung up on failure. Accept that mistakes will happen as a function of being human. And learn from the insights and wisdom of those who can help you put processes in place to prevent problems from recurring.

  • Redeem Yourself

Don’t hide out after a mistake. It’s natural to want to flee or to keep a low profile, but this affirms an untruth – that you are inept and cannot function. Resist managerial efforts to sideline you or to restrict you to “safe” tasks. Those who rebound best are those who are given a chance to overcome their failure quickly. Doing so counters shame and helps restore your sense of self-worth and professional self-esteem. Scoring a new achievement is a powerful healing tonic. So remind your superiors of all you’ve done well and ask for some new opportunities to advance the organization’s success. Your contributions to its excellence will help restore your reputation and help you feel better about yourself again, too.

  • Get Over It

Once you’ve determined how the mistake happened and have preventative strategies in place, let it go. Successful people spend little time agonizing over the past. They move on quickly because they remind themselves that their wealth of accomplishments outweigh their mistakes by far. When your thoughts drift back to an error, including one that happened many years ago, give yourself a big swat or shout “no!” to yourself to stop your negative ruminations. Being consumed with thoughts and feelings of failure will only breed future missteps so make every effort to override the negativity with memories of all that you have done well. Surround yourself with visuals that substantiate your successes. Dust off those award plaques and hang them up. Frame those certificates of appreciation and prop them up in prominent places. Even a home office should include these testaments to your achievements. Yes, people may say that you’re on an ego trip. But remember that those who excel do tend to have higher self-confidence and self-assurance than others.

Making mistakes is a drag, but you can get beyond them. The key to moving on and regaining your track record of success is to understand why the blunder happened, to ensure that preventative strategies are in place, and to put this mistake in proper perspective. Focus your thoughts on all the accomplishments you have to your credit so that the mistake doesn’t loom larger than it merits and get busy adding more achievements to your portfolio!


About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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