When you make a mistake (which, let’s be honest, is inevitable), it’s common for them to cause fear and hesitation. You may even catch yourself avoiding certain actions that led up to that failure. Being able to recover from a mishap, learning from it, and moving on without fear is essential. In fact, letting your failures stop you in your tracks can have more of a negative impact than the original mistake.
Luckily, you can reframe the way you look at accidents, mistakes, and failures, and find a way to turn them into lessons. This way, the next time you think you’re about to mess up, you can come at it from a different angle and turn it into a success story.
Break the Cycle
After a critical mistake has been made, we often think about worst-case scenarios when we next encounter the action that led to the mistake. Although it’s good to be forward thinking and prepared, it’s not healthy to worry and stress about everything you do. To break the cycle of never-ending worry, you need to stop obsessing over the misstep.
Ending your obsession with your mistakes starts with adjusting the way you think about uncertainty. If you come across a situation that you’re unsure of, you’re likely to start playing out what-ifs in your head. Instead of imagining, start analyzing.
From Slip-Up to Success
Analyze your situation and identify what aspects are within your control. Then, figure out what you can do to ensure that things play out positively.
Suppose your most recent mistake was the way you approached a potential client. Did your overly direct approach scare them off? Focus on how you can recover. Think about what your strategy was, what you said, and how it may have been interpreted. Then, consider what you can do next time around to hold their attention. Are you being too direct or indirect? Have you listened to the advice of those with more experience? Have you tried asking your support network how they would tackle the situation? Reflect, analyze, seek perspective, make adjustments, and repeat.
Use all materials available to you. When you’re ready to try again, brainstorm your next proposition. Forget about how the last one went but remember what you learned from it. Envision the way you’ll address the next possible client and how they may react. Remind yourself of the factors that you have control over: your preparation, your voice, your body language, your word choice, your attitude, and how you respond.
Acclimating to Awkward Scenarios
Another way to avoid your fear of making mistakes is to become more comfortable with their outcome. Usually, mistakes make you feel awkward and unsure of yourself. To alleviate this tension, purposefully put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Whatever you need to do to get used to feeling uncomfortable, do it. Leave a public restroom with toilet paper on your shoe. Trip going up the stairs in public. Get into a crowded elevator and face everyone instead of the door. Wave to someone you don’t know in the grocery store. Ask for directions for something that’s very clearly labeled. Or maybe if you know something is stuck in your teeth, leave it there the next time you talk to someone. If these suggestions are a little too embarrassing or uncomfortable, start smaller. This might seem like an odd approach, but it’s a tried and true one.
When you put yourself into awkward scenarios like these, you have a chance to prepare yourself for discomfort, so you’ll be more adept at thinking on your feet when these situations happen accidentally. The more you familiarize yourself with that feeling, the more you’re able to control it.
Forgive and Forget
When all else fails, remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. Nobody is exempt from failures, so forgive yourself. It’s impossible to avoid every mistake, but it’s not impossible to learn from each of them. If your mistake requires an apology, apologize. Most importantly, cut yourself some slack and show yourself kindness while doing your best to make the situation right and learn from the experience.
Think about the consequences of your mistake: “How bad is this, really?” “How is this going to affect me a week, month, or year from now?” Chances are that your mistake is more temporary than you think and will have minimal repercussions.
If you struggle with forgiving yourself, follow these guidelines. They’ll help you to be more compassionate toward yourself and become more open to forgiveness. When you finally forgive yourself, you can begin to forget the mistake and move on.
Remember accidents, mistakes, and failures do not define us. Everyone experiences these. But not everyone learns and moves forward. It’s not about how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.
Aside from having failures in everyday life, there are some common mistakes made while travelling that you can avoid to have a more enjoyable trip. Read our blog to find out how you can leave those mistakes behind.