Mistakes happen, everyone knows that. Your own next mistake might be just around the corner. People don’t usually like to think about making mistakes buts here’s a couple of thoughts that may just help you avoid the terrible fate of the biggest mistake of all.
The first thing to keep in mind is that it is not a mistake to make a mistake. My dad used to tell me that the only people that never make a mistake are the ones that never try. Mistakes, almost any mistake, provide us will a real learning opportunity. They can show us what not to do and sometimes provide us with clues on what we should do.
Here is what I think are the keys to learning from a mistake: we must admit the mistake to ourselves. No one has ever truly learned from a mistake they were unwilling to admit to themselves. We don’t learn because we don’t ask for help, and we don’t call on experts that have already learned from their own mistakes. Since we haven’t admitted a mistake we are much less likely to review our actions and decisions to see where we went wrong. (after all, we DIDN’T go wrong)
Here’s the second key to “mistaking well” – when you make a mistake, and have admitted to yourself, then admit it to others as well. Don’t hide it, accept personal responsibility for it then and there. If you’re honest with yourself, a key to success all by itself, you know when you’ve made a mistake. The sooner you admit it to others the less likely you are to make the biggest mistake of all; blaming someone else for your mistake. So admit it to yourself and then admit it to everyone else. (they know it about the same time as you do anyway)
Denying your mistake or even worse, blaming your mistake on someone else almost always makes things worse. It closes off your support network, you are on your own and the first mistake now looks easy to fix when compared to the new one you just created by denying responsibility for or even the existence of the first mistake. What’s more, every time you deny the initial mistake it gets bigger too!
Never make that biggest mistake, admit the first mistake and reach out for help. People admire people that have the confidence to admit they can be wrong and the confidence to admit that someone else may know something they don’t.
Do you have the confidence to mistake well? I’ll bet you do!